What Rights do Domestic Partners have Under the Law?

California's Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003 provides that couples who register their domestic partnerships with the State of California get similar, though not identical, rights and responsibilities as those that are given to opposite-sex marriages registered with the state.  The rights granted by the Act include health-care and medical emergency rights, estate planning and inheritance rights, governmental benefits, insurance proceeds and retirement benefits, parental rights, utilization of step-parent adoption procedures, community property, spousal and child support after dissolution, protections upon death of a partner, employment benefits within the state of California, and tax benefits within the state of California.

The California Supreme Court, in “In re Marriage Cases,” held that there is no distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex marriages.  Before this decision, the State of California did not recognize same-sex marriages; instead, it only permitted same-sex couples to enter into domestic partnership. Proposition 8 amended the California Constitution to provide that marriage is restricted to a man and a woman.  The California Supreme Court upheld the passage of Proposition 8; however, the Court also held that those same-sex marriages entered into between June 19, 2008 and November 4, 2008 remain valid.  The law regulating same-sex marriage is in constant flux.  Contact Sagaria Law today to schedule an initial consultation to learn more.