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Same-sex marriage (SSM) & domestic partnerships


Activity in Washington State

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Brief summary:

In 2004, two lawsuits were launched by a total of 17 same-sex couples to legalize same-sex marriage (SSM) via the courts. They were unsuccessful.

In 2007, a domestic partnership bill was passed that allowed same-sex couples to register their relationship and receive a limited number of benefits and protections for themselves and their children. During subsequent years, additional benefits and protections were added.

In 2009, an "everything but marriage" bill was passed giving domestic partnerships all of the state rights of marriage except what is ovten considered the most important right: to be able to call their relationship a marriage.

In 2012, the legislature passed a same-sex marriage bill, and the governor signed it into law. Religious and social conservatives mounted a referendum for election day in 2012-NOV in an attempt to repeal the law.

On election day, 2012-NOV-06, the referendum was defeated. Washington's mail-in voting system will delay the final vote probably until the end of the week of NOV-04. However, early results indicated a narrow win for SSM similar to those in Maine and Maryland which took place on the same day.

A more detailed timeline is available.

Topics covered in this section:

bulletQuotes and a timeline, including a summary of polling data, leading up to Referendum R-74 on 2012-NOV-06
bullet More quotations, overview, King County Lawsuit
bullet King County Lawsuit (Cont'd)
bullet Thurston County lawsuit
bullet Ruling of the Washington Supreme Court
bullet 2007: Legislative activity to create domestic partnerships
bullet 2008-2009: Legislative activity to enhance domestic partnerships
bullet 2009: Referendum 71 launched: an attempt to veto domestic partnership law
bullet 2006-2009 public opinion polls on same-sex marriage & domestic partnerships
bullet2009-NOV: Vote on Referendum 71:




Groups supporting and opposing R-71 Part 1   Part 2


Polls on R-71


2011 to 2012: Efforts by the state legislature to make same-sex marriage available in Washington:

References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Joni Balter, "Ballot measures hovering around 50 percent — way too close to call," Seattle Times, 2012-SEP-17, at:
  2. "Gay marriage, marijuana well ahead in poll," Seattle PI, 2012-OCT-05, at:
  3. "Wash. gay marriage law to be decided by voters,", 2012-OCT-13, at:

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Copyright 2004 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2004-SEP-12
Latest update: 2012-DEC-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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