The measure by Assemblyman Richard Katz (D-Sylmar) was approved by a 21-17 vote, the exact majority required in the 40-member Senate, and returned to the Assembly for approval of Senate amendments. Gov. Pete Wilson has not taken a position on the bill, a spokesman for the governor said.
For hours, the bill lingered one vote short of passage. It won approval when Democratic Sen. Leroy Greene (D-Carmichael) left the sickbed where he was recovering from surgery and cast the crucial 21st vote.
The bill (AB 2810) would enable unmarried couples, regardless of sex, to officially register their "domestic partnership" with the secretary of state. It specifically prohibits any other benefits.