The Seattle Times agrees in an editorial in today's edition:
First comes partnership, then comes marriage
Gay marriage took another step down the aisle toward the altar of legality when the state's new domestic-partnership law went into effect this week.
The march toward marriage equality in Washington has been a three-decade struggle, which finally gained a foothold when the Legislature passed the domestic-partnership law last year. The state should now go further, and extend marriage to gays and lesbians. The state is already in the business of marriage. It has no good reason to exclude a large swath of residents because of sexual orientation. The domestic-partnership law, which went into effect Sunday, had people swarming to Olympia to register Monday. The law provides gay and lesbian couples some of the rights granted to married couples, such as the right to visit a partner in the hospital. The law also covers heterosexual couples when one partner is at least 62 years old.
The domestic-partnership law fortifies the argument for gay marriage. Supporters need to return to Olympia and push for what they should be civilly entitled to.
"This isn't an end," state Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, who was the force behind the law, told The Seattle Times. He said he and other gay lawmakers will continue to push bills with additional rights for lesbian and gay couples.
Good for them. Murray will need sustained help from non-gay legislators because the path to marriage equality took a hit last year when the Washington Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Defense of Marriage Act, which bans same-sex marriage. The muddied ruling puts the question squarely back in the state Capitol.
Recognizing the rights of domestic partners is not gay marriage, but it is a step in the procession leading to the inevitable: the legalization of gay marriage.