SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The California Assembly approved sweeping legislation Wednesday that would grant same-sex partners most of the same spousal rights -- and responsibilities -- as married couples.
Passed on a 41 to 29 vote, the bill does not authorize gay men and lesbians to marry. But it would guarantee people who register as domestic partners legal and financial benefits ranging from the ability to file joint income taxes to the standing to petition courts for child support and alimony.
"What it means for both same sex and senior couples is we are about to see California enact a law that will provide them significant rights and protections that they presently don't have, and provide civil rights protections for lesbian and gay couples that no legislature has voluntarily passed in the history of this country," said Geoffrey Kors, executive director of Equality California, a gay civil rights group.
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The Governor still needs to sign it and it's a given the law will be challenged in court. But still, it's a good first step.