A caucus of gay and lesbian lawmakers is set to introduce a far-reaching bill in the California legislature next week that would give domestic partners essentially all the legal rights and responsibilities of married couples, reports The [San Jose] Mercury News.
The bill, part of a broader package of gay rights bills to be unveiled, would bestow new rights on California's nearly 18,000 domestic partners in dozens of areas--everything from community property and child support to filing joint state tax returns. If signed into law by Gov. Gray Davis, it would vault California into a national leadership position on the issue of gay rights.
"This law would be truly historic for the nation," said Geoff Kors, executive director of California Alliance for Pride and Equality, a lobbying group for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered people. "If California passes this, it sends a message to the rest of the nation."