Sunday, April 22, 2007
Yesterday (April 21, 2007), Governor Chris Gregoire of Washington signed legislation authorizing domestic partnerships for same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples if one partner is at least 62 years old.
The legislation will take effect in July. To register as a domestic partnership, (1) the couple must share a home, (2) each member must not already be married or in a domestic partnership, and (3) each partner must be 18 years old.
According to AP, Wash. State OKs Domestic Partnerships, CBS News, April 21, 2007, domestic partners will have the following rights:
- Health-care facility visitation rights.
- Ability to grant consent for health care for a partner who is not competent. Health care providers could disclose patient information to the patient's partner.
- Automatic revocation of a domestic partner as the beneficiary for nonprobate assets if the partnership ends.
- Automatic revocation of power of attorney granted to a domestic partner if the partnership ends.
- Title and rights to cemetery plots and rights of interment.
- Right to control disposition of a deceased partner's remains, including right to make anatomical gifts, authorize autopsies and consent to remove partner's remains from a cemetery plot.
- Inheritance rights when the domestic partner dies without a will.
- Administration of an estate if the domestic partner dies without a will or if the named representative declines or is unable to serve.
- Making domestic partners beneficiaries of wrongful-death actions. Lawsuits for wrongful death could be brought on behalf of a surviving domestic partner.
- Requiring that information recorded on death certificates inlude domestic partnership status.