Gay Partner of 9/11 Victim and Lambda Legal Lawyer To Attend Signing of Bill Providing Inheritance Rights to Domestic Partners

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September 10, 2002

(SACRAMENTO, Sept. 10, 2002) -- A gay California man whose partner died in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks -- and whose passionate testimony propelled legislation to provide partial inheritance rights for registered domestic partners in California -- will attend the ceremony and witness as Governor Gray Davis signs the bill into law today, according to Lambda Legal, which represents the man in his ongoing struggle for equal treatment from government compensation programs for people whose loved ones died in the attacks.

Keith Bradkowski’s life partner, Jeff Collman, was a flight attendant on American Airlines flight 11, the first plane that crashed into the World Trade Center last year. The couple, who had been in a committed relationship for 11 years, were registered domestic partners in California and mistakenly believed the law already included inheritance protections.

“Keith’s situation would have been much more straight-forward if this law had been in effect a year ago,” said Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Jennifer Pizer, who represents Bradkowski with respect to the federal government’s Sept. 11 Victims Compensation Fund. Pizer and Bradkowski, who together spent nine months educating about the need for the bill being signed today, will attend the bill-signing ceremony as guests of Governor Gray Davis. “Many Californians worked very hard in support of this bill, and all of us -- lesbians and gay men statewide -- are indebted to Keith for sharing his painful personal story so legislators and the public can understand the need for effective legal protections for our families.”

Bradkowski was the principal witness in both the Assembly and the Senate when these bodies debated the bill, and his unexpected, traumatic difficulties after Collman’s death were a significant impetus for its passage. Lambda Legal provided in-depth background information and technical consulting to the bill’s author, Assembly Speaker Pro Tem Fred Keeley (D-Monterey), and partnered with the California Alliance for Pride and Equality (CAPE) to build public support for the bill.

WHO: Keith Bradkowski, whose life partner, Jeff Collman, was killed in the Sept. 11 attacks; Jennifer Pizer, Lambda Legal Senior Attorney representing Bradkowski

WHAT: Bill-signing ceremony for AB 2216WHERE: Governor’s Office, First Floor, State Capitol Building

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 10; 12 noon

Contact: Jennifer Pizer, in Sacramento on cell: 213-590-5903
Eric Ferrero, in New York: 212-809-8585, x227


 

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