While the 18,000 same-sex marriages performed IN California were upheld as legal, there was no clarity for quite some time about whether the Golden State would recognize legal same-sex unions performed outside of its boundaries.
Senate Bill 54 was signed by the Governator last month recognizing any same-sex marriages performed before Prop 8 took effect, and the law goes into effect January 1, 2010.
When California’s Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, signed into law last month legislation recognizing some same-sex marriages performed out of state, the state’s Director of the Department of Social Services learned he would regain his legal status as a married man in January.
So will his husband.
CDSS Director John A. Wagner will be the highest-ranking, openly gay, legally married administration official.
The legislation, Senate Bill 54, clarifies that same-sex couples who married outside of California before Proposition 8 went into effect November 5, 2008, are recognized as married spouses by the state of California. It was authored by openly gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco).
One other positive benefit of this legislation is that enumerates that any legal same-sex marriages performed outside of the state after November 5, 2008 must receive the same benefits as civil marriage, but it cannot be called “marriage.”
In the end, this is the best that can be done with the tortuous mess of patchwork “equality” that exists at the state level that tugs again on the unconstitutional truth that a civil marriage license must be portable from state to state, just like your driver’s license. And that means the long and winding legal road to a SCOTUS that will do the right thing. Of course the current composition of the Court doesn’t make anyone feel confident about that.