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California Supreme Court Recognizes Registered Domestic Partner Marital Status Benefit Discrimination Claims

The California Supreme Court’s August 1, 2005 Koebke vs. Bernardo Heights Country Club decision holds that California’s Unruh Act prohibits businesses from treating registered domestic partners differently from spouses in extending public accommodations. The case arose from a private golf club member’s challenge to a Bernardo Heights Country Club  policy of limiting golfing privileges to the member and his or her “legal spouse and unmarried sons and daughters under the age of 22 residing with them.” Koebke asked the Club to extend members rights to her same-sex registered domestic partner to the same extent as if her partner were her legal spouse, but the Club refused to do so.


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