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Washington state to convert same-sex domestic partnerships to marriage

Monday, February 17, 2014
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SEATTLE — Washington state plans to convert thousands of same-sex domestic partners into married couples on June 30, if they haven’t gotten married on their own or dissolved their union by then.

marriage-licenseThe change is the final piece of the state’s same-sex marriage law. But it’s a provision many couples are unaware of and some may not even like, reports The Seattle Times.

Some couples may have broken up years ago and are now married — illegally — to other people. Some live in other states where their partnerships are not recognized and dissolution is not possible.

Washington lawmakers authorized domestic partnerships in 2007, five years before same-sex marriages became legal. The law granted a range of marriage-like benefits to gay and lesbian couples, as well as to heterosexual couples in which at least one partner is 62.

At its peak, just before same-sex marriage became legal, some 10,000 couples were in registered DPs.

The same-sex marriage law signaled an end to domestic-partnership arrangements for most gay couples, giving them until June 30 of this year to either marry or dissolve their union.

By mid-to-late March, the Secretary of State’s Office plans to send out notices to those in the domestic-partnership registry, alerting them to the pending change.

As of Friday, an estimated 6,500 same-sex couples remained in the state’s domestic partner registry.

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