A California domestic partnership is a legal relationship available to same-sex couples, It affords the couple most but not all of “the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law…” as married spouses.
Domestic Partnership was initially introduced in San Francisco in 1982, 1984 Berkley was the first city in California to adopt the DP policy. 1985 West Hollywood was the first city to adopt it into law.
Domestic Partnership was introduced 4 times before the California Assembly until finally passing into law in 1999 as Assembly Bill 26 or AB26. Since then it has evolved into AB 25 in 2001 creating the Domestic Partnership ACT, which was later modified into the California Domestic Partnership Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 or AB 205.
In 2008 Propositon 8 was introduced, the amendment which eliminates the right of same-sex couples to marry, but does not repeal any rights granted to domestic partnerships and registration for domestic partnerships remains legal in California.
In late 2008, Proposition 8 was passed by the voters, in 2009, the legality of Proposition 8 was upheld by the California Supreme Court in Strauss v. Horton holding that same-sex couples have all the rights of heterosexual couples, except the right to the “designation” of marriage and that such a holding does not violate California’s privacy, equal protection, or due process laws.
Proposition 8 then was challenged in federal court on August 4th, 2010 in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial, as it was found to have violated the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the 14th Amendment of the Federal Constitution.
In 2010 Assembly Bill 2055 extended unemployment benefits to Domestic Partners and in late May 2010, the Internal Revenue Service reversed a 2006 ruling, and declared domestic partners in California must be treated the same as heterosexual couples due to a change to the California community property tax law in 2007.
San Francisco, CA – Today the Supreme Court of California announced that the hearing date for Perry v. Brown will be on Tuesday, September 6, 2011 at 10:00AM. The date announced is the very first day of the court’s fall calendar. The court will hear oral arguments on a question of whether under state law proponents of initiatives have standing to defend their initiatives when they are challenged in court. The question was certified to them by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit earlier this year.
November 2012 – At this time we are awaiting a formal decision from the Supreme Court of the United States as to whether the Supreme Court will re-hear Proposition 8. Also on the schedule for the Supreme Court is the Defense Of Marriage Act (DOMA), which is the federal Act that prohibits the recognition of Same Sex couples by the federal government, this includes the military.
The Supreme Court may choose to combine the two issues into one decision, which may extend the decision date until 2013.
If the Supreme Court chooses to uphold the California Ninth Circuits decision to repeal Proposition 8 on the grounds that it violates the 14th Amendment of the Constitution of the United States, then legal marriage could begin before the end 2012. But if they choose to hear the case again or combine it with DOMA, the decision may be extended to allow for the cases to be argued. The earliest we would have a decision would be June of 2013.
The facts about Same Sex Marriage Part 1
The facts about Same Sex Marriage Part 2