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Court upholds California gay partnership law

[JURIST] California's Third District Court of Appeal Monday rejected a challenge to the state's domestic partnership law [text] granting same-sex partners a body of rights almost identical to those enjoyed by the state's married couples, including automatic parental status and responsibility for each others debts. The suit, brought by the Alliance Defense Fund [advocacy website] and other conservative groups, argued that the new domestic partnership law violates the state's Defense of Marriage Act [Proposition 22 text], passed by voters in 2000. The Court held:

the plain and unambiguous language of Proposition 22 shows that the initiative was intended only to limit the status of marriage to heterosexual couples and to prevent the recognition in California of homosexual marriages that have been, or may in the future be, legitimized by laws of other jurisdictions. The words of Proposition 22, and also its ballot pamphlet materials, do not express an intent to repeal our state’s then-existing domestic partners laws or to limit the Legislature’s authority to enact other legislation regulating such unions. If this were the intention of proponents of Proposition 22, the electorate was not given the opportunity to vote on that undisclosed objective, and courts are precluded from interpreting Proposition 22 in a manner that was not presented to the voters.
Read the full text of the opinion [PDF]. Reuters has more.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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