Companies that want to do business with the state would have to offer the same benefits to domestic partners as they do to married couples, under legislation approved early today by the Assembly.
Republicans object that the measure tramples on the religious and other rights of employers who may object to homosexual relationships.
Democrats say the measure discourages discrimination by businesses that want the privilege of gaining state contracts. The measure was sent to Governor Davis with the minimum votes needed.
By reducing the number of bidders and decreasing competition, the bill is expected to cost the state millions of additional dollars on the more than $6 billion spent annually on state contracts.