Pro-gay bills pass first hurdle in California
Two pro-gay bills addressing gay and lesbian partnerships passed out of committee level in the California state assembly Tuesday and now go to the full assembly. The first bill, authored by out lesbian assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, would grant gay and lesbian couples--as well as heterosexual domestic partners--many of the same rights granted married couples. These include the right to file joint tax returns, have joint ownership of property and joint obligation for debt, and the right to authorize medical treatment for a partner's children, the Los Angeles Times reports. "This is about simple justice," Goldberg said in introducing the bill to the assembly's judiciary committee. "It is a giant step along the road. It is not the last step."
The second bill, which was authored by out lesbian assemblywoman Christine Kehoe, would prevent California state agencies from contracting with businesses that do not provide benefits to their employees' same-sex partners. "[This bill] is about fairness and equity in the workplace," Kehoe said. "Employees should not be discriminated against because of marital or domestic-partnership status; 30% to 40% of employee compensation comes in the form of health, dental, vision, bereavement leave,
pension, and retirement benefits."