On April 21, 2007, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed legislation [PDF] that legalized domestic partnerships in the state. Gregoire's signature followed approval from both the Washington state House of Representatives and Senate. The law affords same-sex couples and heterosexual couples over age 62 some of the legal benefits of marriage, including rights relating to inheritance, hospital visitation, and authority to make medical decisions for partners. Despite criticisms that domestic partnerships erode the sanctity of marriage Washington has demonstrated commitment to expanding gay civil rights in recent years, including its adoption of a state gay civil rights act [PDF] that adds "sexual orientation" to classes protected from discrimination in housing, lending, and employment.
Read comprehensive coverage of the issues surrounding Same-Sex Marriage in Features.