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LGBT rights in Washington (state)

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Same-sex marriage in Washington state has been legal since December 6, 2012.

On February 13, 2012, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire signed a same-sex marriage bill that had been passed by both houses of the state legislature. Voters approved the legislation in a referendum held on November 6, 2012. The law took effect on December 6 and the first marriages were celebrated on December 9, 2012.[1]


Laws against homosexuality Edit

Laws against consensual sodomy were repealed in June 1975.[2]

Recognition of same-sex marriage Edit

Since 2001, Washington state has provided benefits to same-sex partners of state employees.[3]

The state passed a statue defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman in 1998. In the 2006 case Andersen v. King County, the Washington Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of that law.[4] Since 2007 Washington state has recognized its own state-registered domestic partnerships, which are considered equivalent to the domestic partnerships, civil unions, and marriages of same-sex couples in other jurisdictions. It has also recognized same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships established in other jurisdictions since then.

Since 2011, Washington state has recognizes same-sex marriages performed elsewhere as the equivalent of its own domestic partnerships.[5][6]

Governor Chris Gregoire signed Washington's law authorizing same-sex marriages on February 13, 2012, but opponents gathered enough signatures to force a voter referendum on the legislation.[7] Voters approved the law in the November election by a margin of 54% to 46%.[8][9] Same-sex marriages have been recognized by the state since that law took effect on December 6.[10]

Adoption Edit

Washington state law permits a legally competent adult to petition to adopt without respect to marital status.[11] Same-sex couples can adopt jointly[12] and can arrange second-parent adoptions as well.[13]

Federal Income Tax Edit

The Internal Revenue Service ruled in May 2010 that its rules governing communal property income for married couples extend to couples who file taxes in a community property state that recognizes domestic partnerships or same-sex marriages. Couples with registered domestic partnerships in Washington, a community property state, must first combine their annual income and then each must claim half that amount as his or her income for federal tax purposes.[14] However, filing such returns precludes electronic filing,[15][16] and Washington has no state income tax independently justifying a complex filing. In certain circumstances, the IRS allows affected couples to disregard community property rules.[17] Since April 2011, Washington has recognised same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions as equivalent to its domestic partnerships,[6] with the result that community property rules now apply to these couples as well, when resident in Washington.

Discrimination protection Edit

Washington state law prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.[18]

Hate crime laws Edit

Washington state law criminalizes "malicious harassment" and violence against individuals because of sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.[19]

References Edit

  1. Pilkington, Ed. "Washington state kicks off day of gay marriages with midnight ceremonies", December 9, 2012. Retrieved on December 9, 2012. 
  2. William N. Eskridge, Dishonorable Passions: Sodomy Laws in America, 1861-2003 (NY: Penguin Group, 2008), 201n, available online, accessed April 10, 2011
  3. National Conference of State Legislatures: "States offering benefits for same-sex partners of state employees", accessed April 16, 2011
  4. "Washington Supreme Court rules in favor of Defense of Marriage Act", July 26, 2006. Retrieved on January 27, 2013. 
  5. Seattle Times: Molly Rosbach, "Washington domestic partnership law gets adjusted," April 5, 2011, accessed April 6, 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 Washington State Legislature: 2010-2011 Session Laws of the State of Washington, accessed February 18, 2012, pages 385-386 of an 1118-page PDF
  7. Gay marriage in Washington state blocked by proposed referendum (June 6, 2012).
  8. Referendum Measure No. 74 Concerns marriage for same-sex couples (November 27, 2012). Retrieved on December 7, 2012.
  9. Gregoire signs gay marriage into law (February 13, 2012). Retrieved on February 13, 2012.
  10. Khouri, Andrew. "Same-sex couples can get marriage licenses in Washington state", December 5, 2012. Retrieved on December 6, 2012. 
  11. Washington Adoption Law. Human Rights Campaign. Retrieved on January 27, 2013.
  12. Adoption in Washington State: A Lifelong Developmental Journey. Washington State Department of Social & Health Services. Retrieved on January 27, 2013.
  13. Schreiber, Tera. "Almost Hitched: Long-term Relationships and the Law in Washington State". Retrieved on January 27, 2013. 
  14. New York Times: Tara Siegel Bernard, "Tax Season Gets Trickier for Some Gay Couples," March 29, 2011, accessed April 5, 2011
  15. USA Today: Sandra Block, "State and federal tax laws conflict for same-sex couples," February 13, 2012, accessed February 18, 2012
  16. WorldWideWeb Tax "How does living in a community property state effect my tax return?", accessed February 18, 2012
  17. Internal Revenue Service: Publication 555, Community Property, accessed February 17, 2012, pages 7-8
  18. Human Rights Campaign: Washington Non-Discrimination Law, accessed April 11, 2011
  19. Human Rights Campaign: Washington Hate Crimes Law, accessed April 11, 2011


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