Monday, October 12, 2009

Governor Schwarzenneger signs legislation on out-of-state recognition of married same-sex couples: "What a mess!", says attorney Gideon Alper

10/12/09 press release by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger:

SB 54 by Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco/San Rafael) - Family law: out-of-state same-sex marriages. See attached signing message.

California attorney and blog contributor Rick Xiao offers this comment on the new law:

Today California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has signed into law significant same-sex marriage legislation which could have a direct impact on the pending challenge to Prop. 8 in federal court.

California now recognizes same-sex marriages that were solemnized in other states during the period when same-sex marriage was legalized in California prior to Prop. 8. Moreover, the new legislation confers upon post-Prop. 8 out-of-state same-sex marriages the same rights and obligations as heterosexual marriages, except that the state will not call them “marriage.”

California’s multi-tier, complex, and perplexing marriage regime lends credence to plaintiffs’ contention that Prop. 8 is “uniquely irrational.” After all, how does Prop. 8 logically advance any government interest when the state has previously honored its own same-sex marriages and now further recognizes those performed in other states before Prop. 8?

Notably, Prop. 8 proponents have repeatedly intoned in court papers that the existing 18,000 same-sex marriages are recognized in California as a result of judicial activism that has ignored the will of the people. This will-of-the-people argument rings hollow now that California’s recognition of pre-Prop. 8, out-of-state same-sex marriages has been done through the democratic, legislative process.

10/12/09 Gay Couples Law Blog:

"What a mess!" says attorney Gideon Alper:

Gay marriage law is already hard to understand because different states plus the federal government have differing laws covering same sex relationships. California's law now means that same sex couples may not even be governed the same within a single state.

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