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  Gay partnership referendum makes ballot
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ContributorThe Sunset Provision 
Last EditedThe Sunset Provision  Sep 01, 2009 07:04pm
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News DateWednesday, September 2, 2009 01:00:00 AM UTC0:0
DescriptionA referendum on an expansion of Washington's domestic partnership law for gay couples has qualified for the November ballot, election officials said Monday.

The "everything but marriage" measure broadens recognition of domestic partnerships by granting gay and lesbian couples all the remaining state-provided benefits presently extended only to married heterosexual couples.

After a month of counting petition signatures, the secretary of state's office said that Referendum 71 had 121,486 valid signatures — nearly a thousand more than needed to advance to the general election.

But supporters of the expansion of the law asked a King County Superior Court judge on Monday to at least temporarily block the referendum from the ballot, arguing that election officials have accepted thousands of invalid petition signatures.

The new law was supposed to take effect on July 26. But the referendum campaign put it on hold, and the law can now only take effect if approved by state voters Nov. 3.

It would expand the domestic partnership law passed in 2007 that granted gay couples hospital visitation rights, the ability to authorize autopsies and organ donations, and inheritance rights when there is no will.

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