Davis Signs Bill To Expand Domestic Partner Health Benefits
Gov. Gray Davis (D) on Friday signed into law a bill (AB 205) that "significantly expands" the rights of same-sex, registered domestic partners in health, legal, financial and employment benefits, the Sacramento Bee reports (Sanders, Sacramento Bee, 9/20). The measure, sponsored by Assembly member Jackie Goldberg (D-Los Angeles), will expand legislation passed in 2001 that allows same-sex couples to register as domestic partners and share benefits such as health insurance and hospital visitation rights (California Healthline, 9/4). The law, which will take effect in January 2005, will allow same-sex couples to take family leave to care for a sick partner, receive a partner's workers' compensation benefits and grant consent for an autopsy or for organ donation (Orange County Register, 9/20). The law will mandate that cities and counties provide health insurance to domestic partners if those same benefits are offered to heterosexual domestic partners (California Healthline, 9/4). The measure will not extend to same-sex couples rights involving family leave, Medicare, Social Security or veterans' benefits guaranteed to married couples by federal law, according to the Los Angeles Times (Jones/Vogel, Los Angeles Times, 9/20). Davis said the law will "move all of society forward together" (Simon, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/20). However, critics have said the legislation violates Proposition 22, a ballot measure approved in 2000 that defines marriage as a union only between a man and a woman. Sen. Pete Knight (R-Palmdale) is expected today to announce a lawsuit against the measure (Sacramento Bee, 9/20).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.