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San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) May 08, 2012
Will North Carolina become the 29th state to pass a constitutional amendment defining marriage as “only” between a man and a woman? On Tuesday, citizens of the only southern state without a ban on same-sex marriage voted on Amendment One. Erik Newton, partner at San Francisco family law firm Heath-Newton, examines the amendment and why same-sex couples in California should be paying attention.
If approved, Amendment One would rewrite the North Carolina constitution to legally define marriage between a man and a woman as the “only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized.” Newton says that “only” may be stronger language than people realize.
According to Newton, unlike California’s Proposition 8 that still allows for same-sex domestic partnerships and affords these partners the same important benefits granted to married couples, Amendment One will ban same-sex civil unions and domestic partnerships as well as marriage.
“In eliminating domestic partnerships and civil unions, Amendment One poses serious problems for same-sex couples seeking to protect their rights relating to inheritance, child custody, property ownership and health-care decision-making,” says Newton.
Although Amendment One seems to allow for private contracting to set forth these rights, says Newton, certain agreements relating to child custody, health-care directives and death benefits may not be protected unless civil unions or domestic partnerships are legally recognized.
Newton says that same-sex couples in California ought to pay attention to the outcome of the May 8 vote on Amendment One, and not only for how it will impact same-sex couples in North Carolina.
“Amendment One serves as an important, albeit sobering, lesson for same-sex couples everywhere: it is imperative to understand what rights exist for same-sex couples in your jurisdiction and how to protect those rights,” explains Newton.
Since the future of Proposition 8 and same-sex marriage in California is still undetermined, Newton says it is important for same-sex couples in this state to contact an expert in domestic partnerships, as various groups continue their efforts to diminish existing protections.
For more information about domestic partnership laws in California, or any family law matters, contact San Francisco divorce attorneys Heath-Newton, LLP by calling (415) 992-5038, visiting heathnewton.com, or stopping by their office located at 240 Stockton Street, Suite 300 in San Francisco, California.
About Heath-Newton, LLP
Heath-Newton, LLP is a San Francisco family law practice focused on families. These San Francisco divorce attorneys pride themselves on working with clients from all backgrounds and lifestyles. Heath-Newton, LLP specializes in premarital agreements (prenups), same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships, divorce, child support, spousal support, adoption, and child custody in San Francisco and the Bay Area.