Governor signs law adding same-sex couples to state’s definition of parents

  • By Jerry Cornfield Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, May 11, 2011 12:01am
  • Local News

OLYMPIA — Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a new law Tuesday extending state rules regarding parentage to cover same-sex couples registered as domestic partners.

House Bill 1267 continues Washington’s effort to ensure same-sex couples are treated the same under state law as married heterosexual couples.

The law contains many provisions including a change in the presumption of who is a child’s parent. Under the new law, a person is a presumed parent if, for the first two years of the child’s life, the person resided in the same home with the child and openly treated the child as his or her own.

Another effect is the removal of gender-specific terms from the parentage law. As a result the terms “mother” and “father” are replaced with “parent” and “man” and “woman” are replaced with “person.”

Originally, this bill also sought to legalize surrogacy and regulate it with a contract between a woman and intended parents.

But political opposition forced it to be stricken from the bill in the final days of the regular session.

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