California governor quietly signs same-sex marriage bill

October 13th, 2009 - 12:05 am ICT by BNO News  

LOS ANGELES (BNO NEWS) — A move that went largely unnoticed by the media on Monday, California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger quietly signed a bill that adds new rights for gay and lesbian couples.

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.

“Senate Bill 54 also requires that California recognize the union of couples that marry in states where same-sex marriage is legal. As required by Proposition 8, California will not recognize such couples as “married.” However, Senate Bill 54 will provide the same legal protections that would otherwise be available to couples that enter into civil unions or domestic partnerships out-of-state,” Schwarzenegger explained. “In short, this measure honors the will of the People in enacting Proposition 8 while providing important protections to those unions legally entered into in other states,” he concluded.

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