Equality California
California Passes Bill Eliminating Legal Separation Barriers for Same-Sex Couples

2010 Press Releases

August 19, 2010

CONTACT: Jorge Amaro, Equality California
PHONE: 562-964-3591 EMAIL: jorge@eqca.org

California Passes Bill Eliminating Legal Separation Barriers for Same-Sex Couples

Sacramento—Today the California State Senate passed the Separation Equity Act, AB 2700, by a 26-9 bipartisan vote. Previously approved by the State Assembly, AB 2700 seeks to create a consolidated form and procedure to simultaneously dissolve a civil marriage and domestic partnership. Co-sponsored by Equality California and the Conference of California Bar Associations, the bill was introduced by Assemblymember Fiona Ma (D-San Francisco).  

“Current state law requires same-sex couples who are both married and registered domestic partners to dissolve their partnership and file for divorce, should they decide to separate, in two separate proceedings,” said Geoffrey Kors, Equality California’s executive director. “This cumbersome and expensive process is a result of California’s dual system of recognizing relationships and the continuing exclusion of same-sex couples from civil marriage. This bill brings us a step closer to equality, but until all loving couples can marry in the state of California, they will continue to be unequal in the eyes of the law.”

AB 2700 would amend the state's family code, allowing for couples who first registered as domestic partners and who legally married thereafter to dissolve both contracts through a single, uniform procedure. The current system forces couples to go through a separate process for each, which can take an extra one to two years for each case to be resolved and unnecessarily burdens the judicial system. The bill also clarifies that same-sex couples who married outside of California and who have all the rights and responsibilities of, may dissolve those out of state marriages in California.

“AB 2700 brings us a step closer towards marriage equality by recognizing that ALL marriages are treated alike, even when it comes to dissolving marriages,” said Assemblymember Fiona Ma.

The bill now heads to the governor for signature.

Equality California (EQCA) is the largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization in California. Over the past decade, Equality California 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. Equality California has passed over 60 pieces of legislation and continues to advance equality through legislative advocacy, electoral work, public education and community empowerment. www.eqca.org