I found this exciting and hopeful!!! What a great birthday present in a time where our rights are slipping through the cracks and disappearing before our eyes!
Sacramento Business Journal - 3:04 PM PDT Monday
Court says businesses must allow 'married' benefits to gay partners
A San Diego country club discriminated when it allowed the families of its married members to play golf for free but refused to grant the same privilege to the domestic partner of a member who is a lesbian, the California Supreme Court ruled Monday.
The couple sued Bernardo Heights Country Club, asserting that the unequal treatment was discriminatory under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.
A lower court had granted summary judgment, holding that the club's actions didn't constitute marital status discrimination, and an appeals court affirmed that ruling. But the state supreme court on Monday drew a distinction because the plaintiffs were registered domestic partners and overturned the lower court judgment.
"Domestic partners registered under ... the current version of the (California) domestic partnership law are the equivalent of spouses for the purposes of the Unruh Act and a business that extends benefits to spouses it denies to registered domestic partners engages in impermissible marital status discrimination," wrote Associate Justice Carlos Moreno.
The club allows spouses and family of married members to play golf for free, sign for food and exercise other privileges of club membership, according to court documents. Birgit Koebke argued that similar privileges should be granted to her lesbian partner, Kendall French, but that the club required her to pay green fees and would not allow her to play more than six times a year, just as it would any unrelated guest.
The couple had registered with the state as domestic partners and informed the club of that fact. The justices noted that in some cases unmarried heterosexual couples were allowed full privileges.
Advocates said the ruling could have broader implications for other types of businesses.
The domestic partnership law was crucial to the court's finding; it did not find that the club violated any law before that measure took effect.