FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE | January 11, 2005
Message from Shannon Minter, NCLR's Legal Director Status of California's New Domestic Partnership Law
(San Francisco, CA, January 11, 2005)— We have been receiving a lot of inquiries about the status of AB 205, California's new domestic partnership law, which provides registered domestic partners in California with most of the rights and obligations conferred on married spouses under State law. As of January 1, 2005, AB 205 is now fully in effect. NCLR has produced two user-friendly publications to help couples understand how the law affects them and their families. See the links below for more information.
As many of you are aware, however, there is a lawsuit challenging the validity of AB 205 currently pending before the California Court of Appeal. The lawsuit was brought by the Proposition 22 Legal Defense and Education Fund - an extremist anti-gay organization. The Fund is arguing that AB 205 conflicts with Proposition 22, an initiative enacted by California voters in 2000 to prevent California from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples from other states. NCLR, along with Lambda Legal, the ACLU, and the Law Firm of David C. Codell, intervened on behalf of Equality California and twelve same-sex couples to defend the law. In September of last year, the Superior Court in Sacramento ruled that AB 205 is valid, rejecting the claims made by the Fund and another anti-gay group. The Fund has filed an expedited appeal to the Third District of the California Court of Appeal, which means that the court will likely issue a decision as soon as February.
We are optimistic that the Court of Appeal will affirm the trial court's decision holding that AB 205 is valid. But even if the Court of Appeal rules the other way, AB 205 will almost certainly remain in effect until the California Supreme Court rules on the issue. We will continue to provide you with information as the situation unfolds, but in the meantime, you should not hesitate to take advantage of the new law if that makes sense for your family. If you have questions about the new law, or about the litigation, please feel free to contact NCLR at firstname.lastname@example.org.