Appellant's Opening Brief

Find Your State

Know the laws in your state that protect LGBT people and people living with HIV.

Case: Ellis v. Arriaga

Friday, July 20, 2007

Appellant's opening brief argues that AB 205, California's domestic partnership law, should give same-sex couples the same protection under the state's "putative spouse doctrine" as people in different-sex relationships who believed they were married, and have lived their life as married, only to find out later that their marriage was not valid. The brief argues that the court has the power to shield same-sex couples from being treated as legal strangers when they seek to unwind their relationships, and that failing to provide domestic partners access to court for fairly dividing their assets, as putative spouses are provided, violates the California Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.

"AB 205 was born of the recognition that lesbians and gay men have been excluded from most Family Code sections by virtue of their inability to marry, though they form devoted couples and families equally in need of those essential protections, and equally vulnerable in their absence."