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Domestic Partnership

I know I've said I'm dead tired of this issue. However I was looking at the L.A. County page on domestic partnerships and it has clarified for me why they *must* give way to same-sex marriage and the sooner the better.

Obviously even same-sex marriage in California would only be good in this state and the states that recognize them. Oh well. Nothing California can do to change the mind of the federal government unfortunately. However, while DP confers on a California couple the same state benefits as for a married couple, they are just not treated the same way.

If a het couple decides to get married, they take out a license and can have a ceremony there. They are MARRIED. Everybody in society knows what that means. It has a status and a dignity to it, even if some celebrities do make an utter mockery of it.

For a DP, you download forms, fill them out, mail them in with a $15 registry fee, the county clerk records it and sends it back. When one ends, you need to file for dissolution, just as with a marriage, but many people don't realize this. With marriage, everyone knows that they end with death or divorce. This knowledge does not come automatically with a DP.

Given that few people really seem to know what domestic partnership is, and it isn't treated with the same seriousness of marriage, and isn't given so much as the honour of a ceremony at City Hall, YES, in the interest of fairness it must give way to same-sex marriage. I would certainly urge all committed same-sex couples to obtain one because of the protections they give, but I don't think they should simply be content with the status quo.


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 10th, 2009 06:20 pm (UTC)
I completely agree with you and you said it much better than I could have. (And I learned something reading your entry, because I didn't know that you can file a domestic partnership and then have to dissolve it if it ends.)
Mar. 10th, 2009 06:28 pm (UTC)
Yup, the form in family law is called Petition for the Dissolution of Marriage or Registered Domestic Partnership. americanstd keeps getting domestic partners coming in to sue their now exes for household goods. They are always unaware that that has to go through Family Court.
Mar. 10th, 2009 06:32 pm (UTC)
Yes. Thank you.

Sadly, so many fundies will say to this argument, "Of course they don't have the dignity of marriage, becuz dem homosechuelz don't deserve it!"
Mar. 10th, 2009 06:43 pm (UTC)
Ah, except that Domestic Partnership is available to heterosexual couples where both partners are over the age of 65. The reason is that this way they don't lose federal retirement benefits for re-marrying. So if you have an elderly widow living on her late husband's Navy pension (very common scenario here), if she marries an elderly widower she will lose her husband's pension. If they form a DP they don't but they have the same state protections as they would if they were married. The benefit to the state is that the federal government keeps paying the tab for the widow so the state doesn't have to!
Mar. 10th, 2009 07:04 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you've come to see it this way. Because, until recently, I hadn't begun to think of the patchwork effect of seeing same-sex marriage in the states that do have it and what that means on a federal level (which is completely understandable as I'm not a resident/citizen of the States). Unfortunately, right now, it means nada, zip, nothing.

So, you're married in, let's say, Mass. but it means absolutely nothing when you file your federal income tax. You're single as far as the feds are concerned. And, if that isn't a slap in the face (sure, sure, go ahead and do your little pretend marriage in your state, but we won't recognize it), then I don't know what is.

Well, there's a long and hard road ahead for same-sex couples who want all of the rights and responsibilities (and, dammit, recognition) that het couples have on the federal level.
Mar. 10th, 2009 07:19 pm (UTC)
I didn't "come to see it this way". I support same-sex marriage, but I wanted a better argument than, "Well I just think it's fair."

So yes, but at the same time, domestic partnership allows...

...Let me back up and explain something about California that's different from many other states. CA is what's called a "community property" state. That is, whatever you bring into the marriage remains yours. Whatever you obtain during the marriage belongs to "the community". Your own separate property can also be put into the community When one partner dies, what is in the community goes to the surviving partner--irrevocably.

So if Jane and Susan form a DP and Jane owns a house on 20 acres of land, she can put it into the community. If Jane becomes very ill and her homophobic family show up, no sweat. Susan is Jane's domestic partner and the family can just pound sand. Then when Jane dies, Susan automatically keeps the land that Jane put into the community and the family can scream and cry until they're blue in the face--California won't let them have it.

Federal recognition or not, DP is still a massive step forward when you consider that most states don't have anything resembling it.

However, I share taxlady's opinion, stated below. I just don't see such a thing ever happening outside of maybe Scandinavia.

Edited at 2009-03-10 07:41 pm (UTC)
Mar. 11th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
Whoops, I realized I forgot to finish this thought:

"If Jane becomes very ill and her homophobic family show up to make the medical decisions for her, no sweat. Susan is Jane's domestic partner and the family can just pound sand."
Mar. 10th, 2009 07:09 pm (UTC)
I think we need to redefine things. I think all legal marriages should be renamed something like "domestic contract".

Leave the word marriage for the religious concept of marriage. I am so tired of people trying to impose their religious views of what marriage is. Make that separate from "domestic contract". I see no problem if someone has a "domestic contract" and get married and they happen to overlap.

Or maybe someone can come up with a new name for the religious one.
Mar. 10th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
The religious one should stay "marriage". Legal marriages should be "domestic contracts" and I think that they should be open to as many adults as wish to participate. I'm not in a polyfidelity, but I am a big fan of the idea. Comes from reading a lot of Heinlein as a kid.

Before I joined the Army, Steve and I had been thinking about incorporating our partnership, divorcing, and living that as an experiment. However he doesn't get my federal benefits if we do that, and we NEED them so we can't do it right now.

He has drafted up an equivalent-to-marriage contract for some of our friends. It functions, but it was more difficult to do than he'd anticipated!
Mar. 11th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC)
Nice term - polyfidelity. Yup, that was one of the things I was thinking should be allowed in a domestic contract. We live in countries with freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Why are they still enforcing the Christian notion of how many people can be in a marriage?
Mar. 11th, 2009 12:39 pm (UTC)

I firmly believe that we should all hie ourselves down to the JP, get a civil marriage and then, a religious ceremony if you like.

Well, it worked for my extremely religious husband and me.
Mar. 11th, 2009 02:14 pm (UTC)
It's what they do in Europe, even in very-Catholic Spain.
Mar. 11th, 2009 02:17 pm (UTC)
Well, it does eliminate the "OMG, teh GAYS are wrekin' mah marrige!!" argument.
Mar. 11th, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
So what's the big news on Prop 8; that "we dehumanize homosexuals law?" Did they strike it down or what?
Mar. 11th, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
Still in front of the California Supreme Court.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )


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