July 29, 2005
Volume 33
Issue 30

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Calif.: Proposed amendment would repeal and permanently ban domestic partner rights
Calif.: Proposed amendment would repeal and permanently ban domestic partner rights
SAN FRANCISCO - An unprecedented coalition of diverse organizations this week denounced a proposed constitutional amendment that would repeal the existing safety net for legally recognized domestic partners and permanently ban marriage protections for same-sex couples. The announcement comes in response to the California Attorney General's authorization for sponsors of the measure to begin collecting signatures to qualify it for the ballot it for 2006.

"This extreme measure is nothing short of a nuclear weapon being launched at Lesbian and Gay Californians," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California, California's LGBT Advocacy Organization. "It would totally wipe out all existing legal protections for legally recognized domestic partners and their children, leaving families vulnerable and placing children at risk. Equality California has been the lead organization working to obtain these legal protections for California, and we will continue working with our coalition partners to make sure that these rights, supported by both Democratic and Republican Governors, are not repealed."

Equality California, and its more than 40 chapters across California, have been working for more than two years in anticipation of this type of assault by educating their communities and identifying voters who support equality. EC has identified hundreds of thousands of Californians who support equality and have built a statewide coalition of LGBT and non-LGBT organizations who are standing together to fight this attack on our rights.

"The impact of this amendment 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," said Sid Voorakkara, interim campaign manager, Equality for All. "Californians have a long history of rejecting discrimination and we are confident they will reject this attempt to single out one group of Californians for permanent second class status."

The Attorney General is expected to announce that two other measures with similar language may be placed in circulation for signature gathering. Any one of the measures, if passed, would deny California couples the ability to make medical, financial, and funeral decisions for themselves and their families. All three amendments would require a tax increase on property jointly owned by unmarried same-sex and senior citizen couples, upon the death of either partner.

In Ohio, Michigan, Missouri, and Utah, which passed similar constitutional amendments last November, the amendments have already been used as justification for denying domestic partner benefits, weakening domestic violence laws as they apply to unmarried couples and revoking custody agreements between same-sex couples.

"We have seen the effects of similar amendments passed in other states last year and their impact is real and immediate, not only to same-sex couples, but to thousands of other unmarried couples," continued Voorakkara. "The organizations behind this initiative have a long history of pushing an anti-Gay agenda and they will run a campaign of lies and deceit to win."

The Equality for All campaign launched in May 2005 to defeat any proposed ballot initiative that would amend California's constitution to permanently deny marriage protections for same-sex couples and eliminate the rights, protections and responsibilities afforded to legally recognized domestic partners.

Equality California
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