Domestic Partners Get Married-Couple Privileges in Calif.

by Annette Burns on August 12, 2005

Link: DOMESTIC PARTNERS GET MARRIED-COUPLE PRIVILEGES.

DOMESTIC PARTNERS GET MARRIED-COUPLE PRIVILEGES

Ruling Expands California’s Public Accommodation Laws

BY DAVID L. HUDSON JR.

California’s domestic partnership laws "require businesses to treat registered domestic partners the same as spouses," the state’s high court has ruled. The California Supreme Court ruling extends the state’s already broad public accommodations laws, but plaintiffs say they are not completely satisfied, considering that the decision leaves same-sex couples still seeking rights equal to those of married couples.

B. Birgit Koebke and Kendall E. French sued the Bernardo Heights Country Club for discrimination because the club would not allow its member Koebke to designate French as her significant other and golf with her on the same basis as a married couple. Country club policy allows members to golf with their spouses on an unlimited basis.    Koebke v. Bernardo Heights Country Club, No. S124179 (Aug. 1).

The club denied Koebke’s petition, saying that such an accommodation was not in the bylaws and that the club had a strong interest in favoring marriage and promoting a family-oriented environment. The plaintiffs alleged the club discriminated against them because of their sexual orientation. The plaintiffs also presented evidence that other unmarried heterosexual couples were allowed to play at the club via the spousal benefits.

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