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Governor Schwarzenegger Signs Bill To Recognize Gay Marriages From Other States

October 12, 2009

The action by California Governor Schwarzenegger recognizing gay marriages performed in other states is courageous and morally correct.  It is through these small steps, one at a time, bit by bit, that we chip away at the outdated and small-minded notions that have existed for far too long. 

Schwarzenegger signed the bill, SB-54 by Senator Mark Leno (D), on Sunday, his office said. Leno’s bill requires California to recognize marriages performed in other states where same-sex marriages are legal.

Supporters and people opposed to gay marriage have been in court battles for years, with voters in the state approving Proposition 8 in last year’s election. Proposition 8 was a ballot proposition that defines marriage to be between a man and a woman.

“Following the passage of Proposition 8, there has been some uncertainty as to how California should treat same-sex couples that married out-of-state while same-sex marriage was legal in California,” the governor wrote in a letter following the signing. “Consistent with the California Supreme Court’s decision that upheld the validity of those in-state marriages entered into prior to the passage of Proposition 8, Senate Bill 54 clarifies that California must also recognize as married couples that legally married in another state during the same period of time in which same-sex marriage was legal in California,” he continued.

In short, the bill requires the state to recognize any same-sex marriage performed in another state while same-sex marriage was also legal in California. Further, it requires the state to recognize same-sex couples married in other states even though same-sex marriages remain illegal in California. While they will not be recognized as “married,” those couples will receive the same benefits as married couples.

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