Domestic partnerships for most couples to convert to marriages this summer

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Domestic partners may get married this summer without even knowing. The Secretary of State and the Department of Health mailed notices to nearly 7,500 couples in state-registered domestic partnerships this month saying they may become married on June 30.

Under a provision of Washington’s Marriage Equality Act, state-registered domestic partnerships in which both parties are younger than age 62 will automatically convert to marriages, unless the couple has married or dissolved the partnership.

The notice gives couples an opportunity to provide information to the state health department by April 15 that will be used to create their marriage certificate. Without the additional information, marriage certificates will only have the limited information the couple provided when they registered their domestic partnership with the Secretary of State’s office.

That information can be added after June 30, yet it may take longer to get an updated copy of the marriage certificate due to high demand for the new marriage certificates — as many as 6,500 couples will be affected.

When lawmakers created state-registered domestic partnerships in 2007, the Secretary of State’s office only required couples to provide information that was relevant at the time. There’s much more on a state-certified marriage certificate.

The letter includes a form that allows couples to include their birth names and their parents’ names. Couples can also identify themselves as groom, bride, or spouse and provide a current address. More information about the conversion of domestic partnerships to marriages and a copy of the letter and the form are available online.


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