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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 11, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 10
Key LGBT-friendly bills pass state House, go to Senate
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Key LGBT-friendly bills pass state House, go to Senate

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Three bills offered by openly Gay or Lesbian legislators have passed the Washington State House of Representatives, and will now go to the state Senate for consideration.

If passed by the Senate and signed by the governor, all will expand protections for LGBT residents of the state.

HB 1163, sponsored by Marko Liias (D-21), builds on the work Liias did in the last legislative session to pass new anti-bullying legislation.

Liias' latest measure would create a work group on preventing bullying, intimidation, and harassment, and establish new educational standards on mental health and youth suicide.

The bill charges the state's education ombudsman and the superintendent of public instruction with convening the group.

In addition, the state Community and Technical Colleges Board and the Higher Education Coordinating Board would be required to compile and evaluate anti-bullying policies and procedures for schools under their jurisdiction.

The measure also adds mental health and suicide prevention education to the state's essential academic learning requirements.

The bill was co-sponsored by openly Lesbian and Gay Reps. Laurie Jinkins (D-27), Jim Moeller (D-49), Jamie Pedersen (D-43), Dave Upthegrove (D-33), and 41 other House members.

It passed by a hefty 76-21 margin.

Seattle's Jamie Pedersen also introduced his own bill, HB 1267, amending the state law known as the Uniform Parentage Act.

Pedersen's measure is intended to expand the rights and obligations of registered domestic partners with respect to parenting.

HB 1267 would add specific references to domestic partnerships to the existing language in the Uniform Parentage Act and adopt some language recommended by the U.S. Uniform Law Commission (ULC).

The ULC is a non-partisan non-profit body that determines what areas of state law might usefully be uniform from state to state, and drafts recommended legislation.

Pedersen's bill would also require that gender-neutral terms be used in state laws governing parenting to better describe the situations of same-sex parents of children.

In addition, the bill extends the time during which individuals can challenge parentage or rescind their own acknowledgement of parentage. This could affect both custody and child support claims.

HB 1267 also sets standards for surrogacy contracts, including new requirements for the prospective parents as well as the woman acting as a surrogate. These changes aim at protecting all parties in a surrogacy contract, and also safeguarding the legal status of the children born as a result of such contracts.

The measure was co-sponsored by Reps. Jinkins, Liias, Moeller, and Upthegrove, as well as 48 other House members.

It passed the House 57-41.

Laurie Jinkins' bill, HB 1649, amends state law to recognize same-sex marriages concluded in other jurisdictions as valid domestic partnerships in Washington.

State law previously excluded same-sex marriages from recognition.

The state's DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) prevents same-sex couples from marrying here, and prohibits state recognition of same-sex marriages concluded in other jurisdictions.

HB 1649 stops short of recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriages as marriages, but it does accord same-sex couples all the privileges of opposite-sex spouses as provided for in this state's domestic partnership laws.

Jinkins' bill also says explicitly that it applies to any future legislation, so couples that fall under the provisions of the law would be entitled to any expansion of domestic partnership rights or benefits that might be passed in the future.

The bill was co-sponsored by Reps. Liias, Moeller, Pedersen, and Upthegrove, and 50 other Representatives.

It passed the House by a margin of 58-39.

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