FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | June 29, 2005
California Supreme Court Upholds Domestic Partnership Law National Center for Lesbian Rights Applauds Tremendous Victory for the Thousands of Same-Sex Couples in California
"Domestic partnership is not marriage, and the Court soundly rejected the tortured efforts of extreme right wing groups to distort the language of Proposition
22 to strike down validly enacted legislation protecting lesbian and gay people and their families."
(San Francisco, CA, June 29, 2005) — Today, the California Supreme Court let stand the Court of Appeal's April 4, 2005 decision upholding the validity of AB 205, the comprehensive domestic partnership law enacted by the California Legislature in 2003. The Court held that domestic partnership is not marriage, and that the voters did not intend to prohibit the legislature from extending legal protections to domestic partners when they enacted Proposition 22 in 2000, which prohibits California from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples from other states.
"This is a resounding victory for fairness and equality," said Kate Kendell, National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director. "Domestic partnership is not marriage, and the Court soundly rejected the tortured efforts of extreme right wing groups to distort the language of Proposition 22 to strike down validly enacted legislation protecting lesbian and gay people and their families. The voters in this state overwhelmingly support providing equal rights and benefits to same-sex couples. The notion that AB 205 violates the will of the people in this State is absurd, and the California Supreme Court rightly rejected it."
Since it went into effect on January 1, 2005, A.B. 205 has provided registered domestic partners in California with many basic protections and responsibilities including: community property, mutual responsibility for debt, parenting rights and obligations such as custody and support, and the ability to claim a partner's body after death. The law does not allow for joint tax filing and certain other protections under state law, and does not provide access to over 1,000 federal protections that married couples enjoy.
"Today's ruling is another victory for the tens of thousands of same-sex couples in California who now have the assurance their families will have the protections provided by this widely supported law," said Courtney Joslin, staff attorney for NCLR.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) is co-counsel on behalf of the defendant-intervenor couples and Equality California, with the Law Office of David C. Codell in Los Angeles, the ACLU, and Lambda Legal. Equality California was the official sponsor of AB 205 and intervened to defend it. NCLR is also lead counsel in the California marriage equality lawsuit - Woo v. Lockyer. In April 2004, San Francisco Superior Court judge Richard A. Kramer held that excluding same-sex couples from the right to marry violates the California Constitution. The case is now on appeal.
The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.