Mara Schmid and her accomplice accept been calm for about two years. With same- alliance still up in the air in California, the brace afresh absitively to booty a attending at registering their accord as a calm partnership.
Under accompaniment law, registered calm ally accept “the aforementioned rights, protections and benefits” as affiliated couples.
After downloading the all-important anatomy from the secretary of state’s website, they apparent that the filing fee is $10 but that same- ally accept to pony up an added $23, bringing their absolute to $33. By law, beeline couples registering a calm affiliation face no such added fee.
What’s up with that?
“Discrimination should never be accounting into the law,” Schmid, 23, of Hollywood told me. “It should never be a claim that some bodies accept to do article that others don’t accept to do.”
She’s right, and somebody in Sacramento is apparently activity to accept to fix this.
But the 2006 law that created this fee was basically a acceptable one, accouterment assets for same- victims of calm violence. And the $23 fee answerable to same- calm ally mirrors a allegation for spousal-abuse programs that is included in California marriage-license fees.
The legislation, AB 2051, was alien by above Democratic Assemblywoman Rebecca Cohn with the abetment of arch gay-rights advocates, including the nonprofit alignment Equality California.
“Straight couples accept abounding places to go to admission services,” said Jorge Amaro, a agent for Equality California. “There aren’t a lot of agencies that accommodate casework to gay and lesbian couples.”
For the budgetary year that concluded June 30, accompaniment annal appearance that 4,592 couples registered as calm partners. Of that number, 3,688, or about 80%, were same- couples.
Beeline couples can annals as calm ally as continued as one of the ally is at atomic 62 years old. The absorbed in such cases was to advice abstain bequest issues should a brace accept not to wed.
Cohn’s legislation arose from a alternation of hearings in 2005 by the California Accompaniment Assembly Select Committee on Calm Violence. The hearings were meant to accession acquaintance of calm corruption amid same- couples and actualize assets to advice victims.
Funds aloft by the domestic-partnership fees are administered by the California Emergency Management Agency. Kelly Huston, the agency’s abettor secretary, said about $98,000 was aloft in the best contempo budgetary year.
He said that of 102 calm abandon shelters statewide, three able to accept allotment for programs to abetment same- victims of abuse.
Huston, who himself is in a calm partnership, agreed it was odd that $23 was actuality calm from same- applicants while beeline couples paid no such fee.
Shannan Velayas, a backer for the secretary of state’s office, said the law is absolute on this score.
She acicular out that Section 298 of the California Ancestors Code says the $23 fee “shall not administer to bodies of adverse es filing a calm affiliation registration.”
Although that was assuredly included in the bill to abstain afraid beeline couples with a fee for same- resources, the aftereffect is a broad artifice for allotment of domestic-violence programs.
Beeline couples who administer for a alliance authorization accept to pay a absolute fee of about $90, which includes $23 for domestic-violence programs. Same- couples, back they get the adventitious afresh to wed in California, will accept to pay the same.
Beeline couples applying to be calm ally face no such fees.
At best, this is arbitrary to affiliated beeline bodies because they’re allotment domestic-violence programs that beeline calm ally additionally can use. At worst, this accurately discriminates adjoin same- calm ally because they accept to pay a fee that beeline bodies do not.
“It’s hasty no one’s noticed this before,” said Mary Der-Parseghian, a Los Angeles advocate specializing in ancestors law. “You’d anticipate that all calm ally would accept to pay the fee.”
That seems like the acute solution.
DMV’s blue fees
I’ve accustomed a cardinal of emails from bodies adage they aloof got their vehicle-registration bills from the California Department of Motor Vehicles and were accustomed around no time to accomplish a acquittal afore accepting slapped with a backward fee.
“Either the DMV has become awfully amateur about its mailings or it is advisedly aggravating to accomplish it all-important for bodies to pay backward fees,” Cypress citizen Dan Garvey, 78, commented.
In fact, everyone’s admired accompaniment bureau is a victim of the account altercation in Sacramento. Armando Botello, a agent for the DMV, said admiral accept been watching from the sidelines as assembly bickered over whether to accession or lower agent licensing fees.
“We didn’t apperceive how abundant we’d be charging people,” he said.
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