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MARRIAGE DIGEST: Calif. domestic partnership law takes effect; San Fran. mayor divorcing; Canadian marriage officials resign

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (BP)–A California law that provides same-sex couples many of the legal benefits of marriage went into effect Jan. 1, keeping that state at the forefront of the national homosexual debate.

The new law significantly expands the state’s already-existing domestic partnership law and provides homosexual couples with the “same rights, protections, and benefits” and the “same responsibilities, obligations, and duties” of marriage under state law.

The domestic partnerships won’t be recognized under federal law or in other states; they nonetheless are a significant step forward for homosexual activists in the state.

With the notable exception of Massachusetts — which, following a court ruling, legalized same-sex “marriage” in May — only Vermont’s civil unions law compares to the new California law. Vermont legalized civil unions in 2000 — also due to a court ruling.

But courts were not involved in the passing of California’s domestic partnership law. The law, known as AB 205, squeaked through the state legislature and was signed in 2003 by then-Gov. Gray Davis, a Democrat.

“California is way ahead of the curve,” Aimee Gelnaw, executive director of the homosexual activist group Family Pride Coalition, told the Los Angeles Times. “The result of this in terms of national impact is that people will see that no one is hurt — that it’s in the best interest of all of us that parents and children and families are protected.”

Pro-family leaders, though, say the new California law violates Proposition 22, which bans same-sex “marriage” and was passed by voters in 2000 by a margin of 61-39 percent.

“Whether you call it ‘domestic partnerships’ or ‘civil unions,’ homosexual ‘marriage’ by another name is still homosexual ‘marriage,’ and the people of California voted against that,” Randy Thomasson, executive director of the Campaign for California Families, said in a statement.

The pro-family legal group Alliance Defense Fund has filed suit in California court, seeking to have the new law overturned.

“AB 205 distorts the law in California,” ADF attorney Robert Tyler said in a statement. “AB 205 blatantly violates the will of Californians who passed Proposition 22 to protect marriage from such attacks.”

But homosexual activists aren’t celebrating too much. They say the law is progress but is not a replacement for same-sex “marriage,” which they hope to see legalized in the near future. A bill legalizing “gay marriage” has been introduced in the state legislature. In addition, a case that would legalize same-sex “marriage” is working its way through the court system.

The new law also allows heterosexual couples aged 62 and older to register as domestic partners.

SAN FRAN. MAYOR DIVORCES — San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom — at the center of the same-sex “marriage” political and legal battle last year — and his wife are filing for divorce.

Newsom is married to Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, an anchor on Court TV. The two issued a statement Jan. 4 saying “the demands of our respective careers have made it too difficult for us to continue as a married couple,” the Mercury News reported.

Newsom burst on the national scene early last year when he ordered city officials to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The licenses eventually were ruled invalid by the California Supreme Court.

Some political analysts went so far as to blame Newsom for President Bush’s victory against John Kerry. Newsom, the analysts said, helped energize social conservatives.

MARRIAGE OFFICIALS RESIGN — Eight marriage commissioners in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan have resigned, saying they have conscientious and religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”

There are 321 marriage commissioners in the province, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported. A dozen marriage commissioners recently resigned in British Columbia with similar objections, the CBC reported.

Including Saskatchewan and British Columbia, seven provinces have legalized same-sex “marriage.” All have come via court order.
For more information about the national debate over same-sex “marriage,” visit http://www.bpnews.net/samesexmarriage

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  • Michael Foust