The State of Washington may be on its way to becoming the seventh state, in addition to Washington D.C, to legalize same-sex marriage.  In 2007 Washington legalized domestic partnerships, then, in 2009 it expanded the rights of registered domestic partners to include “everything but marriage” as the passing bill became known.  Now, in 2012, Governor Christine Gregoire has announced her support for legal same-sex marriage in Washington State.

Shortly after Gregoire’s announcement, House Bill 2516 and Senate Bill 6239 were introduced by Representative Jamie Pederson and Senator Ed Murray respectively. The legislation would allow for same-sex couples to apply for and receive marriage licenses in Washington. Also in the bills is an amendment providing religious officials an exemption from performing services for such marriages.  Interestingly, this amendment changes the language from:  “minister or priest of any religious denomination” to “minister or a priest, imam, rabbi, or similar official of any church or religious organization.” Perhaps my favorite part of the bill though is an added section that includes the term “gender neutral:”

Where necessary to implement the rights and responsibilities of spouses under the law, gender specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule or other law must be construed to be gender neutral and applicable to spouses of the same sex.”

Since January 23rd, when Senator Mary Margaret Haugen, the deciding vote, announced her support, the bills have been expected to pass both the House and the Senate.  Upon passage, opponents will begin soliciting signatures in an attempt to get a challenging referendum on the ballot for public vote.  To do so, they need only collect 120,577 signatures by July 6th.

This is reminiscent of what took place in 2009 when the “everything but marriage” bill was passed. Opponents collected the required number of signatures and placed Referendum 71 on the ballot. I recall my time working as co-coordinator of the Olympia chapter Approve Referendum 71 campaign and fear that some of the same confusion will occur.  Because of the wording of the referendum, the beginning of the campaign was dedicated almost entirely to explaining that voting in support of the referendum actually meant voting in support of the original “everything but marriage” bill.  The number of voters unaware that voting against the referendum, brought by opponents, was in fact siding with them was astonishing.

Last night, just as I sat down to write about this, I received a phone call from an Equal Rights Washington phone bank volunteer. His script began by notifying me that I had donated during the Referendum 71 campaign and that they were now looking for support for ERW’s campaign for marriage equality.  I soon found myself in a long and emotional conversation as I jabbered on about how I was, at the very moment, writing a blog about the bills and, also, about the tax work I now do with registered domestic partners. He told me of his partner of 14 years who passed 22 months ago.  He explained that he did not understand, until his partner’s death, the breadth of the impact of not having the very rights he was fighting for.

His partner was a dedicated worker who refused to begin drawing social security and preferred instead to continue working. By the time he passed he had accumulated significant social security benefits. Because their relationship is not federally recognized, the surviving partner is ineligible for the same social security survivor benefits afforded spouses.  As a result of losing half of his household income, and not being eligible for the same federal benefits married couples receive, this ERW volunteer will likely lose his home.  It is these nuances of the law that have a tangible and often life-changing impact on the lives of people that do not have the right to marry.  Unfortunately, legalization of same-sex marriage in Washington State will have no immediate effect on such federal rights. We can only hope that with each state that passes similar legislation we will be one step closer to federal marriage equality.

If you do plan to marry in the State of Washington, there are some things to consider. For those who are already in a registered domestic partnership, your registration will not immediately and automatically turn into a marriage. Registered domestic partners will need to apply for a separate marriage license.  Once married, the partnership will be automatically dissolved. This will remain true until June 30th 2014 at which time, if you are in a registered domestic partnership and have not yet applied for a marriage license, your partnership will automatically be deemed a marriage. For legal purposes, the date of marriage will become the date of your domestic partnership registration.

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QuickBooks Online Basic Training (for Nonprofits) - Part 1

$ 100

This training is designed for the accidental operations manager, board treasurer, executive director, or anyone else who needs to understand how QuickBooks works so you can accurately and confidently record and track your organization's financial information. It covers the basics of bookkeeping, QuickBooks vocabulary, data entry for income and expenses, and basic troubleshooting. To help you understand the why behind it all, this course also includes and introduction to basic accounting concepts. Although this training assumes no prior QuickBooks knowledge, there's still plenty to learn for those who need a refresher, need nonprofit specific training, or who are coming to QuickBooks Online from Desktop.

Purchasing this training grants you access to our portal, where you can view the video and presentation slides at your convenience.

QuickBooks Online Basic Training (for Nonprofits) - Part 2

$ 100

Building on Part 1, this training will show you how to verify your data entry and create useful reports for both staff and board that will help you make decisions. This training covers QuickBooks' banking integration, reconciling accounts, generating and manipulating reports. You'll also learn how to handle non-cash activity and understand the difference between cash and accrual accounting.

Purchasing this training grants you access to our portal, where you can view the video and presentation slides at your convenience.

QuickBooks Online Intermediate Training (for Nonprofits) - Part 1

$ 100

So you feel comfortable with QuickBooks data entry, but you still have a feeling there's a lot QuickBooks can do that you're not taking advantage of? Our two-part series of intermediate trainings are for you. In Part 1 we cover ensuring your QuickBooks is set up in the best way to capture different kinds of information: functional expenses (program vs. admin and fundraising), grants, and multiple entities like fiscal sponsorships or related organizations. You'll learn why this tracking is necessary, how to gather the information you need to do it, and how the information is used. budgeting -- for your whole organization, specific programs, and even grants.

Purchasing this training grants you access to our portal, where you can view the video and presentation slides at your convenience.

QuickBooks Online Intermediate Training (for Nonprofits) - Part 2

$ 100

Building on Part 1, in this training we'll take your fully tricked out QuickBooks and put it through the paces, covering how to track grant expenditures or invoice against reimbursable grants, how to allocate expenses across multiple programs, and how to manage multiple entities such as related 501(c)(3)/(c)(4) orgs. This course also includes general background and training on fiscal sponsorships such as what to consider, how to set them up, and the differences between fiscal sponsorship models.

Purchasing this training grants you access to our portal, where you can view the video and presentation slides at your convenience.

How to Review a 990 for Staff & Board

$ 100

This training reveals the mystery contained in the many pages of Form 990 and its associated schedules. You will learn from the perspectives of both a CPA 990 preparer and experienced nonprofit director. Nonprofit staff will learn how to review a drafted 990 and work with the external tax preparer on any needed adjustments. Board members will learn how to review a finalized 990, and which parts of the form are of greatest concern. This training is also useful to anyone who wants to better understand some of the "why" behind many nonprofit accounting structures, practices, and terminology.

Purchasing this training grants you access to our portal, where you can view the video and presentation slides at your convenience.

1099-MISC & 1099-NEC Training

$ 75

Every January your organization is responsible for providing 1099 forms to certain independent contractors who you paid more than $600. In this training we'll go over the ins and outs of which contractors this applies to, and how to build your systems so that it's not a crunch to prepare.

Purchasing this training grants you access to our portal, where you can view the video and presentation slides at your convenience.

Coming this summer, check back often!!

We offer trainings as 1:1 sessions, customized private trainings for you and your team, or sponsored customized trainings for your community members. Contact us for more information.

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