Equality California
Marriage & Relationships | Issues

Marriage & Relationships

Ten years ago when EQCA was founded, same-sex couples had no protections under California law. Today, couples can register as domestic partners, receiving most of the rights and responsibilities of married couples.

Same-sex couples ought to be treated with dignity, respect and equality. Until marriage equality is restored, we must continue to close every equality gap that leaves same-sex couples and their families vulnerable in ways that married opposite-sex couples are not.

California Law

Couples of the same gender, and opposite-gender couples with one partner who is at least 62 years old, are eligible to register a domestic partnership with California’s Secretary of State. Couples must fill out the appropriate forms and submit the required fees to the Secretary of State in order to receive a certificate of registration. More info>>

California law gives domestic partners many rights and responsibilities also provided to married couples. Some of the major areas covered by the state’s domestic partnership include creating and dissolving registered domestic partnerships, community property and financial obligations, parental rights and responsibilities, public benefits, health care and end of life issues. More info>>

Federal Law and Other States

California registered domestic partners do not receive any of the more than 1,100 rights and benefits married couples receive under federal law. Domestic partners also continue to have less security than married couples when they travel or move outside of California because their relationship is not recognized equally in other states. 


EQCA-Sponsored Legislation

Domestic Partner Registry

  • Domestic Partnership Equality Act
    SB 651 (Leno, 2011)
    Ends the requirement that couples must reside in the same household.

  • Separation Equity Act
    AB 2700 (Ma, 2010)
    Eliminates some of the legal barriers same-sex couples face as a result of the State of California treating the relationships of same-sex couples differently.

  • Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act
    SB 54 (Leno, 2009)
    Recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed out-of-state as carrying all the same rights and responsibilities that spouses receive.

  • Name Equality Act
    SB 102 (Ma, 2007)
    Domestic partners can adopt a common family name when they register with the state. 

  • Equality in Prevention and Services for Domestic Abuse Act
    AB 2051 (Cohn, 2006)
    Funds education and support services for LGBT victims of domestic violence.

  • Domestic Partners Clarifying Amendments
    AB 2580 (Goldberg, 2004)
    Makes technical changes to the California Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act.

  • Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act of 2003
    AB 205 (Goldberg, 2003)
    The rights and responsibilities of registered domestic partners and their families are significantly expanded. More info>>

  • Domestic Partnership Limited Rights and Responsibilities
    AB 25 (Migden, 2001)
    Registered domestic partners receive new rights and benefits. Opposite-gender couples (with one partner older than 62) can register as domestic partners.

  • Domestic Partner Registry
    AB 26 (Migden, 1999)
    Domestic partnership registry is created and termination defined.


  • Equal Benefits Bills
    SB 117 (Kehoe, 2011)
    Requires that all contractors who are paid more than $100,000 do not discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation.

  • Domestic Partners Pension Death Benefits
    SB 973 (Kuehl, 2005)
    Widowed registered domestic partners receive pension death benefits if their partner was a public employee who retired before Jan. 1, 2005.
  • Domestic Partners Public Employees Health Care Benefits
    AB 1082 (Laird, 2003)
    Definition of domestic partner expands for purposes of the Public Employees Medical and Hospital Care Act (PEMHCA).

  • Domestic Partners Intestate Succession
    AB 2216 (Keely, 2002)
    Widowed domestic partners receive legal recognition in the distribution of the deceased partner's estate and protections if the partner dies without a will.


  • LGBT Health Insurance Parity
    AB 362 (Ting, 2013)
    Provides an exemption from state taxes for additional income an employer provides to an employee to make up for federal taxes the employee would otherwise pay to add a registered domestic partner or same-sex spouse (and/or their dependents) to insurance plans.

  • Fair and Equal Taxation for Surviving Partners Act
    SB 559 (Kehoe, 2007)
    Reduces property tax increases unfairly levied on some domestic partners.

  • Joint Income Tax Filing
    SB 105 (Migden, 2007)
    Simplifies the joint income tax filing process for registered domestic partners by creating a worksheet to determine taxable income.

  • State Income Tax Equity Act of 2006
    SB 1827 (Migden, 2006)
    Registered domestic partners can file joint or separate state income tax returns similar to married couples.

  • California Insurance Equality Act
    AB 2208 (Kehoe, 2004)
    Domestic partners receive insurance policies and plans with the same coverage as married spouses. More info>>

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