The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Vaishalee Raja, Equality California 

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


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.

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."

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.

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.

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

Equality California is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots-based, statewide advocacy organization whose mission is to achieve equality and civil rights for all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Californians.