Musings on…. Domestic Partnerships VS Marriages in Washington State



Family Law Handbook for Partnerships

Family Law Handbook for Marriages 

Domestic partnerships are overseen by state agency.

Actually headed up by the Corporations Division.

Marriages overseen by county.

Here is a news release about ‘everything but marriage’ law. Issued 12/2/2009.

Then I noticed this at the bottom of the page:

There are 9262 Domestic Partnership registrations as of 9/10/2011 4:33:19 PM.


So I see that both get a certificate, partnership gets a wallet card.

fee for domestic partnership certificate is $50, for marriage license – $64


To enter into a state registered domestic partnership the two persons involved must meet the following requirements:

(1) Both persons share a common residence;

(2) Both persons are at least eighteen years of age;

(3) Neither person is married to someone other than the party to the domestic partnership and neither person is in a state registered domestic partnership with another person;

(4) Both persons are capable of consenting to the domestic partnership;

(5) Both of the following are true:

(a) The persons are not nearer of kin to each other than second cousins, whether of the whole or half blood computing by the rules of the civil law; and

(b) Neither person is a sibling, child, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, or nephew to the other person; and

(6) Either (a) both persons are members of the same sex; or (b) at least one of the persons is sixty-two years of age or older

Rules for marriage:

  • To apply for a Marriage License both parties must be present and be 18 years of age or older with photo ID.
  • The Marriage License is valid in Washington state only.
  • The fee is $64.00 cash/money order/cashiers check.
  • Applications can be mailed, notarized and returned for processing. You must submit the original application. (fee must be included as a money order or cashiers check).
  • If either party is 17 years old, they must have parent’s consent.
  • There is a 3-day waiting period before the marriage can take place.
  • Your License is valid for 60 days.
  • A blood test or physical is not required in Washington State.
  • A marriage license and marriage certificate are different documents. The marriage license permits a marriage to take place. The marriage certificate indicates that a legal marriage has been performed.


Strange, they don’t give a list of who can get married, but who can’t:
~~(1) Marriages in the following cases are prohibited:

(a) When either party thereto has a wife or husband living at the time of such marriage;

(b) When the husband and wife are nearer of kin to each other than second cousins, whether of the whole or half blood computing by the rules of the civil law; or

(c) When the parties are persons other than a male and a female.

(2) It is unlawful for any man to marry his father’s sister, mother’s sister, daughter, sister, son’s daughter, daughter’s daughter, brother’s daughter or sister’s daughter; it is unlawful for any woman to marry her father’s brother, mother’s brother, son, brother, son’s son, daughter’s son, brother’s son or sister’s son.

(3) A marriage between two persons that is recognized as valid in another jurisdiction is valid in this state only if the marriage is not prohibited or made unlawful under subsection (1)(a), (1)(c), or (2) of this section.


in domestic partnerships, no solemnizing necessary..

In the solemnization of marriage no particular form is required, except that the parties thereto shall assent or declare in the presence of the minister, priest, or judicial officer solemnizing the same, and in the presence of at least two attending witnesses, that they take each other to be husband and wife.


Domestic partnerships and marriages pretty much have the same laws/regs for the spouses/partners legally.


Washington has no Common law marriage status but will recognize others states common law marriages. here

Washington Parenting Law for unmarried couples who are separating. here


and  [a lot of info. on this site, for those interested.]

and last but not least: Defense of Marriage Act:

from Wiki 

and here

~~ I know this long and chock full of info. but I was interested in finding out what the difference was and if there was any thing needed for a domestic partnership in Washington state.

So what does the LBGT community want that they can’t have?

marriage ceremony? the name marriage? equal or special rights?

I’d love to have someone chime in who knows the answers. please be kind and speak in simple terms for those of us [me] who do not understand legalese.

thanks, The Home Engineer




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