Home   Google ARCHIVE SEARCH: Date:

Domestic partnership may be extended
to heterosexuals

Senator Carole Migden. File photo,1/10/7
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Elizabeth Daley and Tamara Barak, Bay City News Service

February 17, 2007

The option of domestic partnership may be extended to heterosexual couples statewide if California Senator Carole Migden, D-San Francisco, has her way.

Tracy Fairchild, a spokeswoman for Migden, said the senator, who authored California's first same-sex domestic partnership bill in 1999, is now proposing Senate Bill 11 to extend those rights to opposite-sex couples.

Fairchild said the bill was sent to the judiciary committee on Jan. 18 and should be heard some time in March.

Migden had initially intended to allow domestic partnership to all couples when crafting the 1999 bill, however then-governor Gray Davis felt "uncomfortable" with the idea of a domestic partnership between a man and a woman, so this aspect of the bill did not pass, Fairchild said.

The Campaign for Children and Families issued a statement Friday expressing fear that extending domestic partnership rights to heterosexuals would threaten the institution of marriage.

"SB 11 would destroy the special status of marriage between a man and a woman. It would make all real marriages in California unspecial in the eyes of the law," according to the campaign's statement.

In response, Fairchild said, "It's putting everyone on the same footing and that makes them uncomfortable."

According to Fairchild, regardless of marriage's "specialness," fewer couples are choosing to partake.

"Considering four out of 10 kids are born to unmarried couples, the bill could benefit America's new families," said Fairchild, who added that she is unmarried but would consider becoming her boyfriend's domestic partner.

According to data from the 2003 U.S. Census, there were 4.6 million cohabitating opposite sex couples with only one quarter of couples living in "traditional family" units -- defined in 1999 by the University of Chicago as a married couple with children.

Migden's office reported that a 2001 Gallup poll showed 45 percent of people in their 20s believed the government should not be involved in licensing marriage.

"Family structures have changed, society has changed, but government has not kept up with the needs of modern day families," according to a statement issued by Migden's office.

"People don't need to marry for the reasons they used to marry. It used to be economic, that's not really true anymore," Fairchild said.

Fairchild said Migden's bill makes a lot of sense, "especially if you look at the stats."

Many couples do not want the possibility of lengthy divorce proceedings or division of assets should their marriage dissolve, she said.

Fairchild added the bill "does not have anything to do with same-sex marriage," but due to the increased media attention surrounding the issue the bill has been scrutinized.

"We are at a watershed on the topic of marriage," said Fairchild, who added that she was aware of legislation proposed in Washington State that would make marriage so exclusive that only couples planning to have children would be allowed to wed.

The hyperbolic legislation was proposed by the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance, an organization seeking to illuminate what it claims is the absurdity of discriminatory laws passed with the alleged goal of protecting marriage.

Randy Thompson, president of the Campaign for Children and Families, called the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance's proposed legislation "one of the wackiest ideas to enter the public square."

He stated, "Marriage is for a man and a woman, with or without children. The mere fact that a man and a woman are the only ones who can achieve coitus - real sexual intercourse - is enough evidence to demonstrate a man and a woman become one through marriage."

Copyright © 2007 by Bay City News, Inc. -- Republication, Rebroadcast or any other Reuse without the express written consent of Bay City News, Inc. is prohibited.




The Hunger Site

Cooking Classes
in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires B&B

Calitri in southern Italy

L' Aquila in Abruzzo

Health Insurance Quotes


Bruce Brugmann's


Civic Center

Dan Noyes

Greg Dewar

Griper Blade


Malik Looper






MetroWize Urban Guide

Michael Moore

N Judah Chronicles


Robert Solis

SF Bay Guardian





SFWillie's Blog



Sweet Melissa