Davis Signs Bill Extending Domestic Partnership Rights
Faced with an Oct. 14 deadline to sign or veto legislation this year, Gov. Gray Davis (D) yesterday signed a bill (AB 25) that expands about 12 legal benefits, including medical benefits, for domestic partners, the Los Angeles Times reports. Under the legislation, partners will be able to make medical decisions for a hospitalized partner and use sick leave to care for an "ill or incapacitated partner" (Warren, Los Angeles Times, 10/15). To take advantage of the benefits, same-sex couples must register with the secretary of state's office as a "domestic partnership," which is defined by the state as an "intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring." Heterosexual couples with one partner who is at age 62 may also register. Older heterosexual couples were included in the law because some seniors whose spouses are deceased may lose Social Security or Medicare benefits if they remarry. With the bill's signing, California follows Vermont and Hawaii in extending domestic partnership rights to same-sex couples (Ainsworth, San Diego Union-Tribune 10/15). Under earlier legislation, California granted state workers in same-sex relationships the legal right to hospital visitation and health benefits for partners (Salladay/Heredia, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.