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Schwarzenegger signs his first pro-gay bill into law

Schwarzenegger signs his first pro-gay bill into law

In a move that might draw reaction from conservative members of his own Republican Party, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed the first major gay rights legislation to reach his desk--a requirement that insurance companies offer coverage to registered domestic partners. Assembly Bill 2208, authored by Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego), upgrades the health benefits of same-sex registered partners to a level previously available only to married couples. Current law requires insurers to offer domestic partners coverage equivalent to that of a dependent rather than a spouse. Shannon Minter, legal director for National Center for Lesbian Rights, praised the signing. "There are still many businesses all across the state that do not provide any health insurance benefits to domestic partners, much less equal ones," he said. "This bill cuts straight to the source and makes it unlawful for insurers to issue any insurance policies that do not provide equal coverage to domestic partners and spouses." With the signing of the bill, Schwarzenegger enhances his standing as a moderate within the Republican Party, supporting abortion rights as well as gun control and gay rights.

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