California's highest court ruled Monday that country clubs must offer gay members who register as domestic partners the same discounts given to married members - a decision that could apply to other businesses such as insurance companies and mortgage lenders.
The California Supreme Court decision dealt with a policy at the Bernardo Heights Country Club in San Diego that allows the children, grandchildren and spouses of married members to golf for free.
According to AP, Birgit Koebke, 48, an avid golfer, challenged the policy after being told that her longtime partner, Kendall French, could play as a guest only six times a year while paying up to $70 a round.
The state Supreme Court sided with the couple, ruling that it is a violation of the state's domestic-partner law to maintain different policies for married members and gay ones who cannot legally wed. The law went into effect Jan. 1.
Of the ruling, Koebke said: "We just wanted to play golf together, and we just really felt we had every human right to do that."
John Shiner, the lawyer representing Bernardo Heights, said Monday that the club will comply with the court's decision.
Bloomberg reminds that over 25,000 gay couples have registered as domestic partners under a California law that was enacted in 2003 and took effect in January. The law gives same-sex couples community property rights, mutual responsibility for debts, custody and support rights for children and the ability to claim a partner's body after death. It doesn't allow same-sex couples to file joint federal tax returns.
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