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March 30, 2011 at 1:04 PM

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Legislature passes new domestic partnership bill

Posted by Queenie Wong

Washington would recognize domestic partnerships from other states same-sex marriages from other states as legal domestic partnerships under a bill approved by the state Senate Wednesday.

The Senate voted 28-19 to pass the bill, HB 1649. It now heads to Gov. Chris Gregoire to sign into law.

Under current law, the state recognizes domestic partnerships from other states, but excludes same-sex marriage. The bill would not authorize same-sex marriage in Washington, but such marriages from elsewhere would be eligible for the rights granted to domestic partnerships in this state.

Currently, five states, the District of Columbia and Canada allow same-sex marriages, according to The Associated Press.

“This bill is about making sure that people who love one another - and that love and friendship respected and honored in another state or another country - when they come here they have the same opportunity,” Sen. Kevin Ranker, D- San Juan Island, said on the Senate floor.

Sen. Don Benton, R-Vancouver, cautioned lawmakers against passing the bill because he argued it would subject the Legislature to laws that other state legislatures pass.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Laurie Jinkins, D-Tacoma, cleared the House with a 58-39 vote earlier this month.

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