Jill Mullins is an
attorney at McKinley
Irvin. She is the
past-president of the
GLBT Bar Associa-
tion of Washington
Foundation) and the
founder of the GLB T
Legal Clinic, a QLaw Foundation-run
specialty clinic of the King County
Bar Association Neighborhood Legal
Clinics. She regularly speaks on panels
and CLEs regarding same-sex family
Jennie Laird has
law for 16 years, and
focuses on contested
violence, and GLBT
family law cases in
her work at the Law
Offices of Michael
W. Bugni & Associates, PLLC. She is the
current president of the QLaw Founda-
tion and participated in Legal Voice’s
pro bono legal teams representing the
petitioner in In re L. B. and the plaintiffs
in Andersen v. King County. Jennie is
an adjunct professor at the Seattle Uni-
versity School of Law, and is honored to
serve as a pro tem Family Law Commis-
sioner for King County Superior Court.
1. Laws of 2007, Ch 156, §§ 1–33. Note: the domestic partnership law also allowed couples,
regardless of sex of the couples, to register as
long as one member of the couple was over 62.
This article does not address these domestic
partnerships. The domestic partnership law
will continue to exist as an alternative for couples where one person is over 62.
2. Laws of 2008, Ch 6 §§ 10–1306.
3. Laws of 2009, Ch 521 §§ 1–201.
4. RCW 26. 26 et seq. See Laws of 2011, Ch 283 §§
5. Laws of 2012, Ch 3 § 1–18.
6. Note: This article focuses on same-sex families.
Another issue that will come up for family law
practitioners is when an opposite-sex marriage
ends because of, or at least in part because of,
one of the members of the relationship com-
ing out as lesbian, gay, or trans. It is important
to note that the law is well settled that sexual
orientation cannot be a factor in determining
residential time in a parenting plan. Sexual ori-
entation is not a factor in identifying the best
interest of the child and should never be cited
as a reason for limiting residential time with a
Lyle Denniston, “Marriage Arguments March
26–27,” SCOTUSblog, (Jan. 7, 2013, 12:02 p.m.),
15. Adam Liptak, “Justices to Hear Two Challenges on Gay Marriage,” The New York
Times, Dec. 7, 2012. Available at www.nytimes.
16. Defense of Marriage Act, P. L. 104–199 (Sep. 21,
1996) (codified as 28 U.S.C. A. § 1738C (2000)
and 1 U. S.C. A. § 7 (2000).
17. Courts have had the right to award maintenance in a domestic partnership since the 2008
domestic partnership rights and responsibility
extension. See Laws of 2008, Ch 6, §1006 et
seq. See also the Final Bill Report 2SHB 3104 C
6 L08. Available at www. apps.leg.wa.gov/docu-
18. See Karen Moulding, Sexual Orientation and
the Law, West Publishing, 2012, specifically
Ch. 4 for more information. For an example on
the tax complications for same-sex couples, in
§ 4. 12, the authors note that California, Washington, and Nevada have extended community
property to RDPs, and the IRS ruling that in-come-splitting rules apply, but it is questioned
whether income splitting rules must be applied.
It does note that because income vests initially
in the two partners, there is no “transfer” of
property which might otherwise be subject
to a gift tax. PLR 201021048 and citing CCA
19. Patricia A. Cain, “Federal Taxes,” Sexual Orientation and the Law, West Publishing, Karen
Moulding 2012, p. 550.
20. Id. (Cain p. 550).
21. Id. citing C. I. R. v. Newcombe, 203 F.2d 128, 53-1
U.S. Tax Cas. (CCH) P 9241, 43 A.F. T.R. (P-H)
P 648 (9th Cir. 1953) and Gould v. Gould, 245
U. S. 151, 154, 38 S. Ct. 53, 62 L. Ed. 211, 1 U. S. Tax
Cas. (CCH) P 13, 3 A. F. T. R. (P-H) P 2958 (1917).
23. Id. citing U.S. v. Davis, 1962-2 C.B. 15, 370 U.S.
65, 82 S.Ct. 1190, 8L. (Holding that property
transfers incident to divorce were bargain-for
exchanges and taxable on the capital gain
inherent in his transfer of property, i.e., gain
will be recognized to the person who transfers
property with basis below the value of what he
24. This article focuses on children born during
the marriage or the state-registered domestic
partnership. It should go without saying that
a parent’s sexual orientation is not a factor in
determining his/her residential time, even
when a parent was in a previously heterosexual
relationship and the children are issue of that
relationship. Washington is a no-fault state, and
even though there may be a great deal of hurt