Washington to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages

Washington has joined the list of states that, while they do not allow same-sex marriage themselves, recognize same-sex marriages that take place in other states and countries.

A bill making the change cleared the Legislature on March 30 and headed to Gov. Chris Gregoire for her expected signature.

Unlike some other states, however, Washington will recognize same-sex marriages only as domestic partnerships. The state’s domestic-partnership law grants all the state-level rights and obligations of marriage.

“While we are pleased with the actions taken by the Legislature today, passage of HB 1649 does not provide LGBT families with legal equality or the dignity they deserve,” said Equal Rights Washington Executive Director Joshua Friedes. “Equal Rights Washington will continue to work for marriage equality and address other inequities in Washington state law and policy.”

Same-sex marriage is legal in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C. Internationally, it is legal in Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Sweden and Mexico City.

Same-sex marriages from elsewhere are recognized as marriages (not as civil unions or domestic partnerships) in Maryland, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and California (if the marriage took place before Proposition 8 passed).

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