California Bill Would Recognize Same-Sex Marriages from Elsewhere

SB54, a bill sponsored by State senator Mark Leno seeks to force California to decide how to treat out-of-state same-sex marriages since the Supreme Court's Proposition 8 decision did not address the topic. Currently, approximately 18,000 same-sex marriages valid before Prop. 8 passed are still legal as the Court allowed them to stand, but there is currently no statue directing how the state should recognize a same-sex couple married in Iowa, Massachusetts, or anywhere else it is legal.

The Sacramento Bee reports: Leno "The high court did not address how to treat out-of-state marriages, explaining in a footnote that none of the parties involved in lawsuits represented such interests.

In that vacuum, Leno is arguing the Legislature's role should be to clarify the rights of same-sex couples who live in California but wed elsewhere, or couples who might move or travel here in the future…Frank Schubert, who was the campaign manager for Proposition 8, disagrees. He predicts a court battle over the law should it pass and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger sign it.

"Our argument is that the people amended the constitution and do not approve of same-sex marriage," he said.

There's nothing in the court's Proposition 8 decision, Schubert said, that should lead gay couples to think they can transfer marriage rights to California because they wed in another country or any of the six states that now allow gay marriage.

Leno's bill would declare that any same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions before Proposition 8 be recognized on par with marriages that took place in California."