California | Gay Marriage | Proposition 8

California Poised To Remove Anti-Gay Language From State's Marriage Laws

The California state senate recently approved a bill that would remove language from the state’s Family Code defining marriage as only “between a man and a woman.” The bill (SB1306) would use gender-neutral language calling marriage as “a civil contract between two persons” and also open the door for California to recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

CaliThese changes would bring the states laws into accordance with the recent Supreme, federal and state court decisions affirming the right of same-sex couples to wed.

The SF Gate reports:

“In June, the U.S. Supreme Court left in place a lower court judge's order striking down as unconstitutional a ballot measure known as Proposition 8, the 2008 voter initiative that outlawed same-sex marriages in California. A 5-4 court majority ruled that the ban's sponsors lacked authority to defend the measure on appeal, though the justices did not directly address the ban's constitutionality.

Marriages resumed in late June after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a stay it had imposed on the lower court ruling. The state Supreme Court dismissed a final challenge by the ban's backers in August.”

The SF Gate adds that Republican Senator Jim Nielsen was the only Republican to speak against the bill and that in the California Assembly, only Republicans voted against the bill while two Republicans — Anthony Cannella of Ceres and Ted Gaines of Roseville — voted for it.

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  1. A good (and necessary) step. Unfortunately, the language of Prop H8 will remain in the state's constitution until there would be another voter referendum to remove it. I think that's the only way to get it out of the document.

    Posted by: Fox | May 7, 2014 8:31:13 PM

  2. @Fox: it is also not clear if the state legislature can remove the language from Prop 22 from the family code, although they can update other parts of it in the way being suggested. The problem is that normally the legislature cannot modify text added via an initiative. Don't know if there is an exception for the case where an initiative was declared unconstitutional.

    If they can't remove it for legal reasons, I guess they could add an adjacent sentence pointing out that the Prop 22 language is unconstitutional.

    Posted by: Bill | May 7, 2014 10:27:44 PM

  3. "These changes would bring the states laws into accordance with the recent Supreme, federal and state court decisions affirming the right of same-sex couples to wed."

    I believe you mean the one federal districe court to do so. No other federal court, and no state court has done so (except for the 2008 window).

    Posted by: TKinSC | May 7, 2014 11:10:15 PM

  4. @Bill - I wonder if the California legislature can alter the state code, because when the California Supreme Court ruled against Prop.22, they actually instructed that the language they found unconstitutional (Section 308.5) in relation to the California Constitution be "stricken from the statute." At least, that's what they seemed to be saying on page 120 of their ruling. I hope it's a go.

    Posted by: Fox | May 8, 2014 2:45:32 AM

  5. @Fox: a court order would definitely help - I'm not sure the legislature could do it without that.

    Posted by: Bill | May 8, 2014 1:03:17 PM

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