BILL NUMBER: SB 651 AMENDED
AMENDED IN SENATE MARCH 31, 2011
INTRODUCED BY Senator Leno
( Coauthors: Senators De
Leˇn, Pavley, and Yee )
( Coauthors: Assembly Members
Ammiano, Blumenfield, Chesbro,
Gordon, Huffman, Portantino, and
FEBRUARY 18, 2011
An act to amend Section 297 of the Family Code,
relating to family law.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
SB 651, as amended, Leno. Family
Existing law provides that 2 unmarried, unrelated adults who have
chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed
relationship of mutual caring may establish a domestic partnership by
filing a declaration with the Secretary of State if certain
requirements are met, including that both persons have a common
This bill would eliminate the requirement that domestic partners
have a common residence.
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: no
yes . State-mandated local program: no.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. Section 297 of the Family
Code is amended to read:
297. (a) Domestic partners are two adults who have chosen to
share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship
of mutual caring.
(b) A domestic partnership shall be established in California when
both persons file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the
Secretary of State pursuant to this division, and, at the time of
filing, all of the following requirements are met:
(1) Both persons have a common residence.
(1) Neither person is married to someone else or is a
member of another domestic partnership with someone else that has not
been terminated, dissolved, or adjudged a nullity.
(2) The two persons are not related by blood in a way
that would prevent them from being married to each other in this
(3) Both persons are at least 18 years of age.
(4) Either of the following:
(A) Both persons are members of the same sex.
(B) One or both of the persons meet the eligibility criteria under
Title II of the Social Security Act as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section
402(a) for old-age insurance benefits or Title XVI of the Social
Security Act as defined in 42 U.S.C. Section 1381 for aged
individuals. Notwithstanding any other provision of this section,
persons of opposite sexes may not constitute a domestic partnership
unless one or both of the persons are over the age of 62.
(5) Both persons are capable of consenting to the
(c) "Have a common residence" means that both domestic partners
share the same residence. It is not necessary that the legal right to
possess the common residence be in both of their names. Two people
have a common residence even if one or both have additional
residences. Domestic partners do not cease to have a common residence
if one leaves the common residence but intends to return.
SECTION 1. It is the intent of the Legislature
to enact legislation to eliminate statutory differences between
marriage and domestic partnerships to implement the holding of the
California Supreme Court in Strauss v. Horton (2009) 46 Cal.4th 364,
which made a narrow distinction between marriage and domestic
partnerships based on the use of the term "marriage" only.