Thursday, June 30, 2005
California Family Code § 297.5(c) provides:
A surviving registered domestic partner, following the death of the other partner, shall have the same rights, protections, and benefits, and shall be subject to the same responsibilities, obligations, and duties under law, whether they derive from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law, or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon a widow or a widower.
This statute was challenged by the State of California in Knight v. Superior Court, 128 Cal. App. 4th 14, 26 Cal. Rptr. 3d 687 (2005). The court determined that the statute "did not constitute an amendment of Proposition 22 [marriage is only between opposite-sex individuals]; that the statute thus became effective without separate approval by the electorate; and, therefore, that section 297.5 is not void."
Yesterday (June 29, 2005), the California Supreme Court unanimously declined to review the lower court's opinion which, among other things, preserved the right of a surviving domestic partner to inherit from the deceased domestic partner in the same manner as a surviving spouse.