"If California voters take a stand in favor of same-sex marriage Nov. 4, it could ignite a fresh debate over another hard-won gay right – domestic partnerships," Gardner writes.
"The question would be: Should gay and lesbian couples retain the domestic partnership option when that's not available to most heterosexual couples?"
"Proposition 8 would overturn a state Supreme Court ruling in May that legalized same-sex marriage in California," the paper notes. "The proposed constitutional amendment would not affect domestic partners."
"If voters reject Proposition 8, the Legislature and courts may be pushed to examine whether changes are needed in the state's domestic partnership registry, which was created in 1999 and expanded in subsequent years to grant many of the rights and responsibilities of marriage to gays and lesbians. Heterosexual couples aged 62 and older also can enter into domestic partnerships."
"Experts on the issue suggest the state has three choices if Proposition 8 is defeated: Leave domestic partnerships alone, eliminate them or expand them to include all unmarried couples that want them."
Noting that a similar question came up for couples in Massachusetts when that state legalized marriage equality, PFLAG told Gardner that, "Many employees in Massachusetts have found that, since the legalization of marriage, employers often offer health care and other benefits only to married couples, meaning that a simple domestic partnership registration is no longer sufficient to obtain benefits for a partner."
To read the full Union-Tribune article, click here.