California recently signed into law Senate Bill No. 117 which prohibits the state government from entering into contracts worth more than $100,000 with a business that discriminates based on the gender or sexual orientation of the spouse or domestic partner of an employee in providing employee benefits. The law protects couples married in 2008 when same-sex marriage was legal in California, same sex marriages that occurred in other states, as well persons who have filed a declaration of domestic partnership with the California Secretary of State.
Under the new law, the requirement applies to the contractor's operations both within the state as well as elsewhere in the United States where work related to the state contract is being performed. The law allows the requirement to be waived under certain circumstances, including if the contract is necessary to respond to an emergency for which no entity that complies is capable of responding. Further, if the cost of providing the benefit is more for a same-sex partner/spouse, the contractor may require the employee to pay the additional cost.