Thursday, June 30, 2005

Partners Win One in California

It's not about justice or fairness or humanity. Rather, it is about spite.

Even though the California Supreme court gave a victory to domestic partners, the nasties will not let it rest. The odious coupling of the Campaign for California Families and the Liberty Counsel got knocked down again yesterday, but the voter ballot initiatives continue. The state's highest court refused to hear an appeal to a lower-court finding that the domestic-partner law stands.

The short background is that since January 1st, the state has had a middling domestic-partner law. It lets gay couples who live together and register have minimal benefits. They do not get the right to community property, joint tax filing, nor any federal benefits such as social security, Medicare, federal housing, food stamps, veterans'’ benefits, military benefits, and federal employment benefit laws.

It is the wording of the law that seems to rile the anti-gay folk. Part of Family Code 297.5 reads:
Registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law . . . as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.
This makes the haters drag out their dirty flag of marriage-in-all-but-name. Of course, this clearly is not, and if it were, that would be better, wouldn't it?

Note: Two following references to legal papers bring up PDF documents. You need an Adobe Acrobat compatible reader to view or print them. The suit filing is 61 pages and the court ruling 26.

The suit to overturn this law hinged on a narrow point, that the DoMA-style Proposition 22 forbids any accommodation of same-sex couples. The Appeals Court ruling told them to take a hike, or in more legal terms, "Contrary to petitioners'’ suggestion, the Legislature has not created a 'marriage' by another name or granted domestic partners a status equivalent to married spouses."

The initial AP report on the lower-court findings is here.

As the San Francisco Chronicle recap on yesterday's development notes:
The court action ends the legal case, but may not resolve the issue. Three proposed ballot initiatives that would amend the state Constitution to prohibit both same-sex marriage and marital benefits for domestic partners have been submitted to state officials for review, said Geoff Kors, executive director of the gay-rights group Equality Now. The initiatives could be cleared for signature-gathering by August and qualify for the state ballot next year.
More's the pity. Such anti-gay sorts are like a tick in the ear. They just don't want to stop until they get what they came for.

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