Monday, August 31, 2009

APPROVE R-71: Washington DP Rights Are at Stake

We have some late breaking bad news to report. Up in Washington state, it looks like Referendum-71 will likely qualify for the ballot. This means that the anti-family homophobes will probably force a vote this November on the recently passed bill to expand domestic partner (DP) rights for LGBT families.

Here's a quick crash course on what R-71 is all about:

The Domestic Partnership Law (SB 5688) was passed by the Legislature in 2009 to ensure that all Washington families are treated the same, with the same protections, the same rights and the same obligations as their neighbors. Under this law, registered domestic partners (same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples where at least one partner is over age 62), and married couples, are treated equally under state law throughout Washington.

Key rights and obligations in the law include:

Death benefits for the partners of police and firefighters killed in the line of duty.
Pension benefits for the partners of teachers and other public employees.
Victims' rights, including the right to receive notifications and benefits allowances.
The right to use sick leave to care for a seriously ill partner.
The right to workers' compensation benefits if a partner is killed in the course of employment.
The right to receive unemployment benefits if an employee must leave a job to care for a seriously ill partner.
The right to adopt a partner's child without paying for a home study.
The areas covered by the law include labor and employment law; pensions, survivor and other public employee benefits; family law; insurance rights; higher education; banks, financial institutions and loan agencies; creditors' rights and business licenses.

Opponents of the domestic partnership law are seeking to repeal it. Referendum 71 would ask voters whether the law should be approved or rejected. A vote to "APPROVE" keeps the law so that all families will have these protections in all parts of the state.

Again, please remind your friends and family in Washington that they need to vote "APPROVE" on Referendum 71 in order to protect LGBT families' DPs. And if you'd like to help Washington Families Standing Together, the grassroots campaign working to get R-71 approved and protect LGBT civil rights, please click here.

Remember that we only have two months until Election Day, so time is of the essence. Please do what you can to ensure R-71 is approved!

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