snarke (snarke) wrote,

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One Step Forward

Although it's not actually law yet, at this point, it's very unlikely that Senate Bill 5336 won't also pass the House and be signed into law by the governor.

This bill grants the following rights to "domestic partners."

  1. Health Care

    • Visitation of a patient in a health-care facility.
    • Ability to give informed consent for health care for a patient who is not competent.
    • Disclosure by a health-care facility of health-care information about a patient without the patient’s authorization.

  2. Death

    • Funeral arrangements.
    • Ability to consent to autopsies.
    • Authorization of organ and tissue donation.
    • Inheritance rights when there is no will.
    • Administration of an estate if the decedent died intestate or if the representative named in the will is unable to serve.

  3. Provisions dealing with non-probate assets and power of attorney

It also establishes a Domestic Registry, in which qualifying couples can document their relationship. The requirements to qualify are not entirely unlike that for getting a marriage license, with the notable exception that the couple "Be either members of the same sex or if, in a heterosexual partnership, have one individual be at least 62 years of age." and "Share a common residence."

Opponents have accused this as being a stepping-stone to gay marriage. Proponents have celebrated this as being a stepping-stone to gay marriage. A big "duh!" to both sides, eh? Although it's nice that everybody agrees on, and admits to, the 'hidden agenda' for a change.

Equal Rights Washington encouraged me to write a thank-you letter to my senator, which I did. See below:

Dear Senator Ken Jacobsen:

Thank you for voting for the Domestic Partnership Bill.

The Domestic Partnership bill SB 5336 will make a real difference in the lives of Washington families like mine. Every time I've taken my husband to a medical facility (the oral surgeon, or recently to an emergency room for what turned out (thankfully) to just be a bad flu) I have to make a point of asking if I or he can fill out some kind of paperwork to document that I am to be allowed access to his medical information. Most recently, I was told "No, there's no form. He just has to tell us that it's OK."

I don't have a lot of faith in that system! If I have to come back, will the next person at the desk know that he said it was OK for me to be involved in medical decisions involving him? What if something goes wrong, and he can't answer the question?

Thank you.
Tags: gay marriage
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