Same-sex couples in California for the first time will have access to divorce court for dividing their assets, seeking alimony and securing child support. They also will have automatic parental status over children born during the relationship and responsibility for each other’s debts.
It guarantees domestic partners a say over what happens to their loved one’s remains at death and means they cannot be forced to testify against each other in state courts.
Many gay rights advocates say the domestic partner law heralds a hopeful new era of legal recognition and participation for gay men and lesbians. They hope that is particularly true for those raising children or without the money to pay lawyers to prepare the previously recommended paperwork.