'Everything But Marriage' Law for Gays Passes in Wash.

Referendum 71 expands benefits for same-sex couples
By Will McCahill,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 5, 2009 8:20 PM CST
Supporters of Washington's Referendum 71 cheer at an election-night party.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – A measure expanding benefits for same-sex couples, dubbed the “everything but marriage” law, has passed in Washington state, the first time such an equality measure has been approved at the state level by voters. Referendum 71 currently has about 52% of the votes, and a margin of 60,000, with 72% of ballots counted.

Same-sex couples can now use sick leave to care for a partner, and gain rights with adoption, child support and custody. “This is a day for which we can all look back with pride,” one supporter tells the AP. Opponents say there’s still much counting to do, and won’t yet concede.