FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
AUGUST 17, 2005
Contact: Eddie Gutiérrez, Director of Communications
Phone: (323) 217-8875 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
DOMESTIC PARTNERS PENSION BILL PASSES COMMITTEE AND NOW HEADS FOR FULL ASSEMBLY VOTE
Sacramento, CA — The Assembly Appropriations Committee approved 12-5 in favor of Senate Bill (SB) 973 by LGBT Caucus Chair Senator Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica). This important Equality California-sponsored bill will allow the domestic partner of a public employee who retired prior to January 1, 2005, when Assembly Bill (AB) 205, California's Comprehensive Domestic Partnership law went into effect, to choose a death benefit if the retiree dies before their partner. The bill now heads for an Assembly floor vote within the next few weeks.
“Retired public employees who are legally recognized domestic partners should have the same financial opportunities to protect and secure their families,” said Executive Director Geoffrey Kors of Equality California. “When one partner dies, it is a tragedy for the survivors. Current law unintentionally compounds that suffering by denying what married couples have easy access to - the death benefit. They should have peace of mind that the government will stand tall to protect rights, not take them away.”
AB 205 grants many rights to registered same-sex couples. One of these rights is community property, which includes pensions. For public employees who retired prior to January 1, this domestic partnership bill will allow them to prove that they were in a domestic partnership when they retired and allow them to elect the death benefit for their partner.
Currently, there are proposed constitutional amendments that will repeal the existing safety net for legally recognized domestic partners and permanently ban marriage protections for same-sex couples. The impact of any one of these amendments would be devastating to hundreds of thousands of California families by taking away nearly all the responsibilities and protections currently afforded to legally recognized domestic partners. These anti-family amendments would eliminate the rights and responsibilities provided for SB 973.
ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE VOTE
12 AYES: Chu (Chair), Bass, Berg, Calderon, Karnette, Klehs, Leno, Nation, Oropeza, Ridley-Thomas, Saldaña, Yee
5 NOES: Emmerson, Haynes, Nakanishi, Runner, Walters
Founded in 1998, Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure the dignity, safety, equality and civil rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians. Equality California is one of the largest and fastest growing statewide LGBT organizations in the country. We can be contacted through our website at www.eqca.org.