Governor Brown Signs Freedom to Marry Bill

mark_leno
Senator Mark Leno

Without comment or fanfare, Governor Jerry Brown on Monday signed legislation that brings state law in line with court rulings that recognize marriage for same-sex couples. While both the California and U.S. Supreme Courts have affirmed the right for same-sex couples to marry, current state laws have not been revised to reflect these changes.

Senate Bill 1306, authored by Senator Mark Leno, makes those important updates.

“I am pleased Governor Brown has recognized the importance of this bill, which makes it explicitly clear in state law that every loving couple has the right to marry in California,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “This legislation removes outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all married spouses equally, regardless of their gender.”

On June 26 of last year, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand California’s prior ruling on the unconstitutionality of Proposition 8, which prohibited same-sex couples from marrying. With that decision, Prop. 8 was abandoned, and the 2008 California Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry was reinstated.

It was just over a year ago that the U.S. Supreme Court punted on the broader constitutional issue and simply argued that those defending the 2008 Constitutional Amendment in California lacked the authority to do so.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote for the 5-4 majority in the Prop. 8 ruling.

He wrote, “Federal courts have authority under the Constitution to answer such questions only if necessary to do so in the course of deciding an actual ‘case’ or ‘controversy.’ As used in the Constitution, those words do not include every sort of dispute, but only those ‘historically viewed as capable of resolution through the judicial process.’ “

“This is an essential limit on our power,” he argued. “It ensures that we act as judges, and do not engage in policymaking properly left to elected representatives.”

A few days later, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals would lift the stay on same-sex marriages. In a single line, “The stay in the above matter is dissolved effective immediately,” as the court effectively removed the remaining barriers to legal, same-sex marriages in California.

“I am thrilled that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals lifted its stay to allow same-sex couples to legally marry in California,” said Attorney General Kamala Harris. “Gay and lesbian couples have waited so long for this day and for their fundamental right to marry. Finally, their loving relationships are as legitimate and legal as any other.”

SB 1306 updates state law as was directed by the 2008 In Re Marriage Cases decision from the state Supreme Court. It replaces references to “husband and wife” with gender-neutral language, such as “spouse,” in order to recognize all married couples.

According to the Legislative Digest, “An existing provision of the California Constitution, which has been held unenforceable, states that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in this state. An existing statutory provision likewise provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in this state.”

“This bill would repeal that statutory provision,” the digest notes.

The bill is co-sponsored by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Equality California (EQCA) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

“While we have achieved many milestones in the journey towards full equality for LGBT people – including the freedom to marry for same-sex couples – it’s important that we completely erase discrimination from the books,” said Rick Zbur, executive director-elect of EQCA. “This new law will take us one step further in that journey. We applaud Senator Leno for authoring this important legislation and Gov. Brown for signing it.”

“We are grateful for Senator Leno’s legislation that will ensure the fair and equal treatment of all married couples in California,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell. “Although there is no question that same-sex couples can marry in California, the discriminatory language that remains on the statutory books creates confusion about the rights of same-sex couples. This law makes it clear to everyone that same-sex couples can marry and that all spouses have the exact same rights and responsibilities under the law, regardless of gender.”

Senator Leno’s marriage bill officially becomes law on January 1, 2015.

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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60 Comments

  1. Davis Progressive

    i remember the days when gay marriage was a topic guaranteed for hundreds of comments, now it’s the law of the land and people have moved on.

      1. South of Davis

        Just about no one cares, but 20 years from now we will still get a front page story when a an Orthodox Jewish baker will not make a wedding cake shaped like a penis for a gay couple and the article will point out how tough things “still” are for same sex couples (who by every objective measure like income, education, home size, number of international trips, etc. are ALREADY doing better than EVERY other group in the US). Just last week I read an article about a gay couple suing a born again Christian photographer who didn’t want to shoot their wedding despite the fact that 99.999% of the other photographers in the US would have no problem shooting a gay wedding…)

  2. Davis Progressive

    i remember the days when gay marriage was a topic guaranteed for hundreds of comments, now it’s the law of the land and people have moved on.

      1. South of Davis

        Just about no one cares, but 20 years from now we will still get a front page story when a an Orthodox Jewish baker will not make a wedding cake shaped like a penis for a gay couple and the article will point out how tough things “still” are for same sex couples (who by every objective measure like income, education, home size, number of international trips, etc. are ALREADY doing better than EVERY other group in the US). Just last week I read an article about a gay couple suing a born again Christian photographer who didn’t want to shoot their wedding despite the fact that 99.999% of the other photographers in the US would have no problem shooting a gay wedding…)

  3. Robin W.

    This is a very important bill, considering the US Supreme Court’s recent craziness. Much better to have this codified in a statute than to be relying on a federal court decision.

  4. Robin W.

    This is a very important bill, considering the US Supreme Court’s recent craziness. Much better to have this codified in a statute than to be relying on a federal court decision.

  5. Frankly

    Since gay marriage was always a fake civil rights issue, and its root problem basis was one of unfilled psychological need to feel accepted as same or else to dominate, this is not to be celebrated as any solution to the root problem. Because it is not a solution, the march will continue. Soon the Democrat dominated states will force private business and will force private organizations… including churches. But then that will still not be enough. Next public records will be forbidden to use the words “father”, “mother”, “daddy”, “mommy”… or anything else that creates any sensitivity to the parenting circumstances for gays and their children.

    Just like the “women’s movement” and all other subjects of the political class war of the left, the gay rights movement will never be satisfied. The psychological needs of the needy will continually be exploited at the expense of anyone that dares to be principled, self confident and self actualized.

    And in the end, misery will love the new company it creates.

    1. Tia Will

      I think that the Windsor decision with the material harm in the form of several hundred thousands of dollars denied her because her partner was a woman should have been enough to determine that this was about material harm, not a psychologic need to be accepted. But I guess that material harm doesn’t count if your are a woman in a same sex relationship, right Frankly ?

      1. Frankly

        That was a problem with the law not recognizing civil union partnerships as needing the same legal rights. The harm was not from the definition of marriage. By the way, what about people that love each other and are together for many years but never marry. So, by your argument they apparently don’t matter. Don’t you think that is quite discriminatory?

        1. Don Shor

          The harm was not from the definition of marriage.

          But the harm was very easily eliminated by recognizing all such unions as being marriages and thereby providing equal rights to all couples. Since nobody was harmed materially by that solution, and there was no valid reason to recognize “civil union partnerships” as anything other than marriages, legalizing same-sex marriage made sense legally and ethically.

          1. Frankly

            No so Don. You are discriminating against two people that love each other and spend years together in a loving partnership that chose, for their own reasons, not to be married. You are marriage biased and that is insensitive and cruel and harms people.

        2. Tia Will

          Frankly

          ” what about people that love each other and are together for many years but never marry. So, by your argument they apparently don’t matter. Don’t you think that is quite discriminatory?”

          I don’t understand how you came to that conclusion from what I wrote.
          I think that all people whether married, unmarried, cohabiting, living separately or living together should be treated equally. I do not believe that there should be economic advantages for marriage or lack of marriage. As someone in a long term relationship without having chosen marriage, I strongly believe that everyone should be treated exactly the same under the law. But then, I realize that I am an outlier.
          I will always have to settle for small steps towards what I consider an equitable society. That’s ok. I realize that small steps are often the only ones that can be taken.

          1. Frankly

            Well since you and the others marching to this legalize gay marriage war until you won… you actually lost the argument to focus on fixing the real civil rights problem. Bravo!

            You might not get my point here. But my point invalidates your point that gay marriage was a fight for civil rights.

  6. Frankly

    Since gay marriage was always a fake civil rights issue, and its root problem basis was one of unfilled psychological need to feel accepted as same or else to dominate, this is not to be celebrated as any solution to the root problem. Because it is not a solution, the march will continue. Soon the Democrat dominated states will force private business and will force private organizations… including churches. But then that will still not be enough. Next public records will be forbidden to use the words “father”, “mother”, “daddy”, “mommy”… or anything else that creates any sensitivity to the parenting circumstances for gays and their children.

    Just like the “women’s movement” and all other subjects of the political class war of the left, the gay rights movement will never be satisfied. The psychological needs of the needy will continually be exploited at the expense of anyone that dares to be principled, self confident and self actualized.

    And in the end, misery will love the new company it creates.

    1. Tia Will

      I think that the Windsor decision with the material harm in the form of several hundred thousands of dollars denied her because her partner was a woman should have been enough to determine that this was about material harm, not a psychologic need to be accepted. But I guess that material harm doesn’t count if your are a woman in a same sex relationship, right Frankly ?

      1. Frankly

        That was a problem with the law not recognizing civil union partnerships as needing the same legal rights. The harm was not from the definition of marriage. By the way, what about people that love each other and are together for many years but never marry. So, by your argument they apparently don’t matter. Don’t you think that is quite discriminatory?

        1. Don Shor

          The harm was not from the definition of marriage.

          But the harm was very easily eliminated by recognizing all such unions as being marriages and thereby providing equal rights to all couples. Since nobody was harmed materially by that solution, and there was no valid reason to recognize “civil union partnerships” as anything other than marriages, legalizing same-sex marriage made sense legally and ethically.

          1. Frankly

            No so Don. You are discriminating against two people that love each other and spend years together in a loving partnership that chose, for their own reasons, not to be married. You are marriage biased and that is insensitive and cruel and harms people.

        2. Tia Will

          Frankly

          ” what about people that love each other and are together for many years but never marry. So, by your argument they apparently don’t matter. Don’t you think that is quite discriminatory?”

          I don’t understand how you came to that conclusion from what I wrote.
          I think that all people whether married, unmarried, cohabiting, living separately or living together should be treated equally. I do not believe that there should be economic advantages for marriage or lack of marriage. As someone in a long term relationship without having chosen marriage, I strongly believe that everyone should be treated exactly the same under the law. But then, I realize that I am an outlier.
          I will always have to settle for small steps towards what I consider an equitable society. That’s ok. I realize that small steps are often the only ones that can be taken.

          1. Frankly

            Well since you and the others marching to this legalize gay marriage war until you won… you actually lost the argument to focus on fixing the real civil rights problem. Bravo!

            You might not get my point here. But my point invalidates your point that gay marriage was a fight for civil rights.

  7. Tia Will

    Frankly

    It is not that I do not “get the point” that you are expressing. It is that I do not agree with it.
    I believe in equal treatment for all people and consider this just one small step towards equality of treatment.
    We can take on the “real civil rights problem” ( as you see it) in the future. Incremental change is better than no change. I am not of the school that believes that you must destroy something in order to improve it as you have often advocated for.

    1. Frankly

      Sorry Tia – this does not fly.

      There was great urgency for this gay marriage action. There was the argument that you made that Betty cannot visit her lifelong love Margret in the hospital. And neither of them could get benefits that married people get.

      So you and others demanded that we change the definition of marriage to include same sex couples because they were being damaged by these things.

      And some of us said that civil union partnerships with equal rights and protections under the law as the better solution.

      And then you and others said, that is not good enough. You said it was a civil rights issue.

      And so you got your way, and those loving couples that don’t want to marry are out of luck.

      And because of this your platform of absolutism, civil rights, caring… all of it gets invalidated and replaced with a simple understanding that your aim was simply pushing the gay rights agenda roughshod over anyone that opposes it for any reason.

      I know you really want there to be a different conclusion, but by leaving out non-married couples from your crusade, you have shown your true colors on this issue.

      Either that, or you just made a mistake in support of gay marriage instead of the much more inclusive civil union solution.

        1. Frankly

          She is a lot smarter than you Don, so I don’t know if your request will work.

          It is really quite simple though, if you are really about caring about two people that love each other getting equal rights, you would have supported civil unions with equal rights. But since you pushed gay marriage, you demonstrated that it was only a protest to advance a gay power agenda. Because those unmarried parters that love each other have been left out.

          And apparently they don’t have enough of a class war persona to get a liberal’s attention.

          1. Don Shor

            If “civil unions with equal rights” is exactly the same as “marriage” then what is the point in not calling it marriage?

          2. Mark West

            I am trying to stay out of this argument since I want to see us all prioritize our efforts on the most important local issues, and this frankly isn’t one of them. That said, if Frankly seriously believes that Civil Unions are the best way forward, then I expect he and Mrs. Frankly will be very happy having their ‘marriage’ declared null and void and have it replaced with a Civil Union. If that is not the case (for either he or Mrs. Frankly) then he needs to answer why he deserves/needs a different set a civil rights than someone who wants to marry their same sex partner. If Civil Unions are appropriate/sufficient for same sex partners, than they are appropriate/sufficient for everyone.

            This is a case of one size fits all, whether you call it Civil Union or Marriage.

          3. Frankly

            Neither of you are thinking deeply enough about this, or are thinking too deeply and missing the simple point.

            Are we marriage biased? Does it require marriage to take care of all the equal rights that have been the basis for demanding that we change the definition of marriage?

            What if I love another man and we are together in a partnership for many years, but neither of us wants to marry? What if Ms. Frankly is really Ms. Sensitive and she has been my loving female partner for 31 years?

            So I guess we just get discounted since we are not the marrying types.

            I know it is hard to accept this simple point that gay marriage was never a civil rights issue. It was an attack from the left and the gay activist group to change the social and cultural definition of marriage so that gays could stick it to societal gender norms and liberals could stick it to social conservatives. If it really was about two loving people of any gender in a loving partnership then we would have focused on civil unions with equal rights.

            We still have unmarried loving couples without those rights. And the biggest issue is that those same people that claimed gay marriage was in fact a civil rights issue utter no peep of complaint about unmarried couples lacking equal rights.

            And that, my two friends, is enough to spill the beans about the true agenda behind the gay marriage crusade.

          4. Don Shor

            We still have unmarried loving couples without those rights.

            That is because they can choose not to get married. They can choose to forego those rights conferred by the institution of marriage; rights which are numerous and material. Gay couples could not make that choice. A right declined is not the same as a right withheld.
            This is so simple, it seems to elude you.

          5. Mark West

            The difference Frankly is that your loving couple in your example have chosen not to marry when they could, and have therefore chosen not to take advantage of the civil and economic advantages that they could have received through marriage. Until recently, same sex couples did not have that choice. They were denied access to the civil and economic advantages provided to married couples. That is the basic civil right that your position denies and ignores.

  8. Tia Will

    Frankly

    It is not that I do not “get the point” that you are expressing. It is that I do not agree with it.
    I believe in equal treatment for all people and consider this just one small step towards equality of treatment.
    We can take on the “real civil rights problem” ( as you see it) in the future. Incremental change is better than no change. I am not of the school that believes that you must destroy something in order to improve it as you have often advocated for.

    1. Frankly

      Sorry Tia – this does not fly.

      There was great urgency for this gay marriage action. There was the argument that you made that Betty cannot visit her lifelong love Margret in the hospital. And neither of them could get benefits that married people get.

      So you and others demanded that we change the definition of marriage to include same sex couples because they were being damaged by these things.

      And some of us said that civil union partnerships with equal rights and protections under the law as the better solution.

      And then you and others said, that is not good enough. You said it was a civil rights issue.

      And so you got your way, and those loving couples that don’t want to marry are out of luck.

      And because of this your platform of absolutism, civil rights, caring… all of it gets invalidated and replaced with a simple understanding that your aim was simply pushing the gay rights agenda roughshod over anyone that opposes it for any reason.

      I know you really want there to be a different conclusion, but by leaving out non-married couples from your crusade, you have shown your true colors on this issue.

      Either that, or you just made a mistake in support of gay marriage instead of the much more inclusive civil union solution.

        1. Frankly

          She is a lot smarter than you Don, so I don’t know if your request will work.

          It is really quite simple though, if you are really about caring about two people that love each other getting equal rights, you would have supported civil unions with equal rights. But since you pushed gay marriage, you demonstrated that it was only a protest to advance a gay power agenda. Because those unmarried parters that love each other have been left out.

          And apparently they don’t have enough of a class war persona to get a liberal’s attention.

          1. Don Shor

            If “civil unions with equal rights” is exactly the same as “marriage” then what is the point in not calling it marriage?

          2. Mark West

            I am trying to stay out of this argument since I want to see us all prioritize our efforts on the most important local issues, and this frankly isn’t one of them. That said, if Frankly seriously believes that Civil Unions are the best way forward, then I expect he and Mrs. Frankly will be very happy having their ‘marriage’ declared null and void and have it replaced with a Civil Union. If that is not the case (for either he or Mrs. Frankly) then he needs to answer why he deserves/needs a different set a civil rights than someone who wants to marry their same sex partner. If Civil Unions are appropriate/sufficient for same sex partners, than they are appropriate/sufficient for everyone.

            This is a case of one size fits all, whether you call it Civil Union or Marriage.

          3. Frankly

            Neither of you are thinking deeply enough about this, or are thinking too deeply and missing the simple point.

            Are we marriage biased? Does it require marriage to take care of all the equal rights that have been the basis for demanding that we change the definition of marriage?

            What if I love another man and we are together in a partnership for many years, but neither of us wants to marry? What if Ms. Frankly is really Ms. Sensitive and she has been my loving female partner for 31 years?

            So I guess we just get discounted since we are not the marrying types.

            I know it is hard to accept this simple point that gay marriage was never a civil rights issue. It was an attack from the left and the gay activist group to change the social and cultural definition of marriage so that gays could stick it to societal gender norms and liberals could stick it to social conservatives. If it really was about two loving people of any gender in a loving partnership then we would have focused on civil unions with equal rights.

            We still have unmarried loving couples without those rights. And the biggest issue is that those same people that claimed gay marriage was in fact a civil rights issue utter no peep of complaint about unmarried couples lacking equal rights.

            And that, my two friends, is enough to spill the beans about the true agenda behind the gay marriage crusade.

          4. Don Shor

            We still have unmarried loving couples without those rights.

            That is because they can choose not to get married. They can choose to forego those rights conferred by the institution of marriage; rights which are numerous and material. Gay couples could not make that choice. A right declined is not the same as a right withheld.
            This is so simple, it seems to elude you.

          5. Mark West

            The difference Frankly is that your loving couple in your example have chosen not to marry when they could, and have therefore chosen not to take advantage of the civil and economic advantages that they could have received through marriage. Until recently, same sex couples did not have that choice. They were denied access to the civil and economic advantages provided to married couples. That is the basic civil right that your position denies and ignores.

  9. Frankly

    In the state of California, heterosexual married couples can no longer be referred to as husbands and wives. Democrat Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that not only redefines marriage, but eliminates any reference to husband and wife, replacing each with the generic term of spouse.

    1. Don Shor

      Reference: the Christian News Network.
      Continues the article:

      “The bill would delete references to ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ in the Family Code and would instead refer to a ‘spouse,’ and would make other related changes.”

      In other words, it implements the extension of marriage to gay couples. You, of course, can continue to use whatever terms you like.

      1. Frankly

        Next stop… no “mommy” or “daddy” can be uttered at any public school or else you risk getting accused of hate speech.

        Absurd?

        Nope.

        And with these speech police rules, we again get to see into the real agenda of gay marriage.

          1. Frankly

            What is equal about removing “husband” and “wife” from the public record? Sounds punitive to me. So, if you are a heterosexual married couple, we will no longer allow you to be referred to by your heterosexual married gender role. There is your tolerance and inclusion on display!

          2. Don Shor

            It is a matter of making the legal code conform to the law. Nobody’s being punished. You can call your wife whatever you want to call her, though I’d suggest you clear it with her first.

  10. Frankly

    In the state of California, heterosexual married couples can no longer be referred to as husbands and wives. Democrat Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill into law that not only redefines marriage, but eliminates any reference to husband and wife, replacing each with the generic term of spouse.

    1. Don Shor

      Reference: the Christian News Network.
      Continues the article:

      “The bill would delete references to ‘husband’ or ‘wife’ in the Family Code and would instead refer to a ‘spouse,’ and would make other related changes.”

      In other words, it implements the extension of marriage to gay couples. You, of course, can continue to use whatever terms you like.

      1. Frankly

        Next stop… no “mommy” or “daddy” can be uttered at any public school or else you risk getting accused of hate speech.

        Absurd?

        Nope.

        And with these speech police rules, we again get to see into the real agenda of gay marriage.

          1. Frankly

            What is equal about removing “husband” and “wife” from the public record? Sounds punitive to me. So, if you are a heterosexual married couple, we will no longer allow you to be referred to by your heterosexual married gender role. There is your tolerance and inclusion on display!

          2. Don Shor

            It is a matter of making the legal code conform to the law. Nobody’s being punished. You can call your wife whatever you want to call her, though I’d suggest you clear it with her first.

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