Schwarzenegger expands unemployment benefits for gay couples

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"Governor Schwarzenegger has signed the Unemployment Benefits Act (AB 2055), which ensures that same-sex couples in California have access to unemployment benefits. The bill was introduced by Assemblymember Hector De La Torre (D-South Gate) and sponsored by Equality California.

“'We thank the governor for signing this bill, which will provide same-sex couples who plan to enter into a domestic partnership with access to benefits that heterosexual couples who are engaged already enjoy and that affect the wellbeing and security of their families,' said Geoff Kors, executive director of Equality California.

“'Although this legislation helps chip away at the discrimination same-sex couples face, the fact is that domestic partnerships are not the same as marriage, and the only real solution is to restore the freedom to marry in California so that same-sex couples are truly equal under the law. We thank Assemblymember De La Torre for his advocacy and leadership.'

"Currently, couples who are engaged to be married are eligible for unemployment benefits if one of the partners must leave his or her job in order to move closer to his or her future spouse. This bill would extend the same rights to couples who plan on entering into a domestic partnership. The bill is especially beneficial for same-sex couples because they are prohibited from legally marrying and therefore unable to receive these benefits.

“'AB 2055 will bring equity to imminent domestic partners and help keep families and couples together,' Assemblymember De La Torre.  'By guaranteeing this right to imminent domestic partners fairness under the law will be enforced, family unity will be preserved, and all committed relationships will be given equal opportunity to unemployment benefits.'"

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