Compiled by Dawn Wolfe Gutterman
Domestic partners keep property tax exemption
SACRAMENTO – Registered domestic partners will continue to get the same tax benefits as married couples who transfer property under a recent court ruling upholding a 2003 decision granting that right.
The ruling last week by the Sacramento County Superior Court judge upheld the California Board of Equalization decision to extend to domestic partners a property tax exemption originally written for spouses.
County tax assessors who opposed the rule change sued last year, fearing it could invite tax cheating and cut revenue. They argued that the board’s decision was unconstitutional because domestic partners were not included in the original tax law passed by voters.
DP bill given initial approval, marriage foes gather signatures
DENVER – The House of Representatives gave initial approval March 24 to a ballot proposal that would give same-sex couples the same benefits allowed married men and women including hospital visitation, inheritance without a will and shared employer benefits.
If approved by a simple majority in the House and Senate, which are both controlled by Democrats, the bill would go on the November ballot. It would not require the signature of GOP Gov. Bill Owens.
On March 23, a group that wants to pass a constitutional amendment barring equal marriage was cleared to collect signatures to place the issue on November’s ballot. The group now needs to gather about 68,000 valid voter signatures to get on the ballot.
The proposed constitutional amendment says “Only a union of one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in this state.”
High court OKs anti-marriage amendment
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The Florida Supreme Court unanimously approved language for the 2008 ballot initiative that would put a ban on equal marriage rights in the Florida Constitution.
Equal marriage ban again kept from vote
ST. PAUL – Two attempts to force a Senate vote on an equal marriage ban failed recently on mostly party line procedural votes.
Senate Majority Leader Dean Johnson, who has worked to stop a vote, has been under intense scrutiny since the public release of a tape of him speaking in January to pastors from his area about equal marriage. The secretly made tape captures him telling the ministers he was assured by current and former Supreme Court justices that the court would not touch the issue.
Advocates of the ballot measure have demanded that Johnson give the bill an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor. The bill has been stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee for three years.
Anti-gay marriage amendment voted down
CONCORD, N.H. – The New Hampshire House voted overwhelmingly March 21 to defeat a proposed constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage.
The vote was 207-125 against an amendment, which would have added a definition of marriage as a union of one woman and one man to the state’s Bill of Rights.
The vote ends this year’s campaign for a constitutional ban of same sex unions.
State law does not permit civil unions or marriage for gays and lesbians, nor does the state recognize marriages and civil unions performed out of state.