Equality California
Bill Clarifying Rights of Same-Sex Couples Married Outside of California Passes Key Committee

2010 Press Releases

July 9, 2009

CONTACT: Vaishalee Raja, Equality California
PHONE: 916-284-9187 EMAIL: vaishalee@eqca.org

Bill Clarifying Rights of Same-Sex Couples Married Outside of California Passes Key Committee

Sacramento -- Today SB 54, which clarifies the rights of same-sex couples married outside of California, passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee in a 7-3 vote.

The bill, introduced by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) and sponsored by Equality California (EQCA), underscores that same-sex couples married outside the state before the passage of Proposition 8 on November 5, 2008, are entitled to full recognition as married spouses in California, regardless of whether they married in-state or out-of-state. That rule is consistent with existing law, including the California Supreme Court's prior holding in In re Marriage Cases that California cannot treat marriages differently based on whether they were performed in-state or out-of-state.

SB 54 also confirms that same-sex couples married outside of California after November 5, 2008, must be given all of the rights, protections, and responsibilities of spouses under California law, with the sole exception of the designation of "marriage."

"This bill is designed to eliminate both the confusion and anxiety felt by same-sex couples in the aftermath of Prop. 8, which singles out and treats a minority group unequally under the law," said Geoff Kors, executive director for Equality California. "Unless we restore the freedom to marry for same-sex couples, Californians will live under an unequal, flawed and arbitrary system.

Although Proposition 8 prevents California from designating same-sex couples who marry in another jurisdiction on or after Nov. 5, 2008, as "married," the Court's decision in Strauss v. Horton requires the state to give those couples all of the substantive protections of marriage.

"Proposition 8 not only creates a separate and unequal category for one minority group of Californians, but also creates confusion for same-sex couples who married outside of California," said Senator Leno. "Since we cannot remedy this confusion by restoring full marriage equality for all Californians, we are forced to clarify the rights and protections afforded to these couples and their families in state law. As defined by the Court, Proposition 8 only denies same-sex couples the official designation of the term "marriage."

SB 54 will move to the Assembly floor in the coming weeks.

To find out more information about EQCA's legislation, visit http://www.eqca.org/legislation.  

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. In the past decade, EQCA has strategically moved California from a state with extremely limited legal protections for LGBT individuals to a state with some of the most comprehensive civil-rights protections in the nation. EQCA has passed over 50 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org