DOMESTIC PARTNERS REGISTRY: New Law May Benefit Seniors Most, Sponsor Says
Though California's new domestic partners registry is a "huge step forward in the struggle for equality" between same-sex and heterosexual couples, the law's sponsor, Assemblywoman Carole Migden (D-San Francisco), predicts that seniors will eventually be the law's biggest winners. Migden pointed out that the program is "tailor-made to immediately benefit seniors. And eventually I expect seniors will be the ones that benefit most, once they find out about it." Bill Powers, legislative director of the Congress of California Seniors, agreed, saying the issue of domestic partnership includes the elderly, who choose not to marry out of fear of losing survivor's pensions or damaging their inheritance for their children. Opponents of the new bill, however, including the Committee on Moral Concerns, argued that if heterosexual couples are "unwilling to commit to each other in a real marriage, the taxpayer-supported state government should not commit to their relationship either." The law permits lesbian and gay couples ages 18 or over and heterosexual couples that include at least one senior to register as domestic partners. Applicants also must share a common residence and basic living expenses, and be single and not involved in any other domestic partner relationship. Once registered, couples receive full hospital visitation rights and, if one of the individuals is a current or retired state employee, the other is eligible for state health insurance benefits (Haddock, San Francisco Examiner, 1/4).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.