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Originally published Thursday, March 31, 2011 at 4:24 PM

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Putting all domestic partnerships on solid ground

The Legislature has adopted legislation to recognize same-sex marriages from other states. Washington has domestic partnerships, but same-sex marriage is illegal. The move respects basic rights and equality, and the realities of modern, mobile families.

THE Washington Legislature has passed House Bill 1649 to ensure that couples in same-sex marriages from other states are seamlessly included in the legal rights and protections available to domestic partnerships in this state.

This is the practical kind of legislation that recognizes families are mobile, and the hassles of moving and relocation should not be complicated with concerns about basic rights and equality.

The measure, which passed the Senate this week and goes to the governor to be signed, was needed because same-sex marriage is not legal here. A 2006 state Supreme Court ruling narrowly held that state constitution does not guarantee marriage equality for same-sex couples.

In the absence of recognition for same-sex marriage, state lawmakers and state voters have endorsed a series of changes to protect adults in committed relationships raising families, running businesses and owning property.

Legalization of gay marriage is the right and proper direction for the state. In the meantime, recognition of the legal complexities that bind couples and families — from hospital visitation to power of attorney and inheritance rights — has been accomplished.

Other states have taken the wholly appropriate next step and endorsed same-sex unions with the legal description they deserve: marriage. Oddly enough, those same-sex couples risked being in a legal limbo if they moved to Washington.

The law grants protection to those couples in domestic relationships valid in other states. Redundant, perhaps, but necessary to protect families and allow them to settle down without legal hassles or doubts.

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