The heat is still on here in California. At Equality California, we’re waiting for Governor Schwarzenegger to sign our bills the legislature just passed. We have one in particular that I’m worried about.
Anti-LGBT organizations like Ron Prentice’s ProtectMarriage.com are trying to convince Schwarzenegger to veto SB 54, the Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act (Leno, D-San Francisco). SB 54 clarifies that couples married out-of-state pre-Prop 8 are regarded by the state as married. It also clarifies that couples married out-of-state post-Prop 8 get all the rights of marriage without the label of “marriage” (the most we can do because of the California Supreme Court’s ruling).
It’s on the Governor’s desk right now, and he could sign or veto it at any moment. We are trying to get the word out now for Californians to call the governor at 916-445-2841 and ask him to support this bill, so these couples can be sure where they stand. Supporters of SB 54 can also call one of the governor’s district offices.
The opposition is claiming we are trying to circumvent the law, undercut the Constitution and disregard the will of the people. They are telling their supporters the bill is “a direct assault on Proposition 8” and “an absolute and total affront to the seven million Californians who passed Prop 8.”
When the California Supreme Court upheld both Prop 8 and the 18,000 marriages performed here before it passed, they pointedly left open the question about couples married in other states and countries before November 5, 2008. These couples could not get married in California when it was legal, since you can’t get married again if you already are. SB 54 clarifies that these couples are legally married in California, and, like I mentioned earlier, the bill clarifies that couples married out of state after November 5, 2008 are entitled to all the same state rights as married couples, just without the designation of “marriage.”
Leave a comment if you have questions about this or any other piece of EQCA legislation. Of course, we won’t have full equality until Prop 8 is ultimately repealed, but in the meantime this bill will offer some desperately needed clarity for thousands of couples living in California.
George True Simpson is the eCommunications Associate at Equality California and blogs at The California Ripple Effect. Interests include any and all internet fads/trends/memes and harnessing the extraordinary potential of online organizing to advocate for justice and progressive change. In his truncated free time he enjoys the cinema, the city of Los Angeles and studying foreign languages.