Attorney: Calif. Domestic Partner Law Violates Voter Rights

Allie Martin | Agape Press | Friday, September 3, 2004

Attorney: Calif. Domestic Partner Law Violates Voter Rights

September 3, 2004

A Christian legal defense organization is challenging California's domestic partnership law, Assembly Bill 205, which was signed into law in 2001 by former Governor Gray Davis. That legislation extended approximately 15 rights of marriage to same-sex couples.

Liberty Counsel, an Orlando-based litigation, education, and policy organization, is challenging AB 205 on the basis that this domestic partnership legislation creates a new category of same-sex "marriage." Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, says the provisions of that law run contrary to California's Proposition 22, which restricts marriage to one man and one woman.

Proposition 22 was approved in March 2000 by more than 61 percent of the voters, passing in 52 out of 58 counties in the state. But according to Staver, the Domestic Partnership Law completely disregards the will of the people and the state constitution. "Under Proposition 22," he explains, "the legislature cannot override the statewide vote of the people unless the people, in fact, vote on amending this marriage law themselves. That was not done in AB 205."

The attorney notes that the language of AB 205 states "registered domestic partners shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits" as married couples and be subject to the same responsibilities and duties as are husbands and wives under the law. But in granting these broad marital rights to same sex couples, he says, "The Domestic Partnership Law violates the rights of the voters in the State of California."

While proponents of AB 205 claim the law has no impact on marriage, Staver says this argument ignores the fact that marriage is more than just a label. "You can't have a parallel system under a different name and not call it marriage," he says.

But in fact, Liberty Counsel's president insists, that is just what this law has done -- created "a parallel system and changed the name to domestic partnership." Staver says in doing so AB 205 has clearly violated the will of the people who went to the polls several years ago to pass the statewide Proposition 22.

That proposition, enacted according to the provisions of the state constitution clearly said that, in California, marriage should mean only the union of one man and one woman.

© 2004 Agape Press.