California recognizes same-sex weddings and will offer divorces to same-sex couples who have resided in the state for six months or who were married in California but are unable to divorce where they live. Divorces can only be filed in California if at least one spouse is a California resident.
Same-sex marriages performed elsewhere are not valid in California, but there is no requirement that marriages be conducted by licensed clergy members. Any couple could file for a marriage license and any minister would be able to perform them. However, only certain counties issue these licenses and they cannot be used in other counties.
Gay couples have been able to get married since October 17, 2008 when District Attorney Jerry Brown announced his office would no longer oppose same-sex marriages. However, without exception, every court that has considered the issue has ruled against same-sex marriages.
In 2000, California passed its own version of the Marriage Act which allowed gay and lesbian couples to marry if they were living in states that permitted such unions. This law took effect on October 17, 2008 when District Attorney Jerry Brown announced his office would no longer oppose same-sex marriages.
In 1996, California became the first state to legalize civil unions.
Many same-sex couples marry in states or countries that recognize same-sex marriage. Some couples dwell in these marriage-friendly areas, while others go there only to get married.
Following many state and federal court judgements and a voter initiative that was ultimately found unlawful, this matter appears to be settled in California. For further information, see California Marriage Law and Developments in Same-Sex Marriage Law.
Couples who are lawfully married in another state are recognized as married in California, regardless of when they were married. Your relationship will not have a different legal status, such as a domestic partnership, but it will be considered as a marriage.
Unlike states such as Georgia, Alabama, Idaho, Iowa, and Kansas, California doesn't recognize common-law marriage; a couple who are simply cohabiting aren't considered married in California, regardless of the number of years spent living together. However, if you're married elsewhere and move to California, you can still be married in California.
In California, there is no requirement that both parties consent to a marriage license being issued for their relationship. As long as one partner is at least 18 years old and not married, a couple can get married anywhere in California as long as one of them is a citizen or resident alien of the United States. If you're from another country and want to get married here, you'll need to find a lawyer who can help you make sure that you don't run into any immigration issues.
It's important to note that although California allows couples to get married without having to obtain a marriage license, this license-free option does not apply to cities that have passed their own ordinances requiring marriage licenses. So if you try to get married without a license in San Francisco or Los Angeles, you will need to wait until these requirements are lifted either by state law or through action by the city council.
No, "common law marriage" is not recognized in California. Even though California does not recognize common law marriages, unmarried couples who have been together for a long time have some privileges. For example, they can inherit each other's assets if one of them dies without a will.
The legal status of common law marriages in California is different from state to state. Other states may allow these unions, while others do not. If you are married in another state and move to California, your marriage will not be valid here unless you get a special license to marry again. In most cases, neither you nor your husband/wife can be forced to go through with a ceremony that would invalidate the union in the other state.
Common law marriages were popular among members of the middle class who could not afford a minister or a lawyer. They tended to be more informal than religious marriages, but it was not necessary for both parties to be baptized Christians for there to be recognition of their relationship.
In California, before the 1960s, only marriages conducted by ministers of religion or by civil authorities were valid for inheritance purposes. The requirement that weddings be performed by clergymen was later dropped in favor of greater public awareness about the need to get married if you want to create a valid marriage contract with all its benefits.
Gay and lesbian couples in California can register as domestic partners. Couples who register have many of the same state privileges as heterosexual married couples, but only in California. Civil union rights do not transfer from state to state like marriage rights do. In addition, there is no federal requirement that states must allow gay and lesbian couples to marry or enter into civil unions.
In California, you can register with the county clerk's office as either a "husband" or a "wife". The form is called an "Application for Declaration of Domestic Partnership". A husband and wife are both listed on the form, and it is required to be notarized before it can be accepted by the county clerk's office. Forms can be downloaded from the department of health services website: http://www.dhss.ca.gov/apps/domesticpartnership/. Completed forms should be sent to the county clerk's office where they were filed. Costs vary by county but are typically $60 to $100. There is also a $15 filing fee.
Domestic partner benefits vary by employer but usually include hospital visitation rights, medical decision-making processes, and tax treatment. In general, employers are not required to provide domestic partner benefits but if they choose to do so it can be a benefit worth offering their employees. Employees can also receive benefits through their own unions or employee organizations.
Proponents of same-sex marriage in California claim that prohibiting marriage rights violates the Fourteenth Amendment's guarantee of equal access to liberty and the rule of law. Opponents believe that marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman and should hence remain that way. The issue went to the Supreme Court of California, which ruled that the state constitution required all marriages to be registered by county officials or else be void.
The court based its decision on an 1879 case called Reynolds v. United States that said when a law is "unconstitutional," then it doesn't really exist. Only those laws that are still in effect because they were not challenged in court are legal contracts. The California Supreme Court's decision made gay marriages invalid throughout the state.
However, two courts later found that the definition of marriage in California's constitution was too broad and refused to enforce this part of their ruling. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed with these decisions. They concluded that although some gay marriages performed before the ruling was released violated the law, others did not. Therefore, there was no need for the government to take action against them.
In addition, the court gave supporters of the ban one year to seek a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. If such an amendment isn't passed by the end of 2001, then the court's decision will go into effect.
Following the judgment of the Supreme Court, same-sex couples in California can take the same processes to marry as opposite-sex couples. After filling out an application and producing a picture ID that indicates they are both above the age of 18, the couple must receive a marriage license from a county office. Same-sex marriages have been available in San Francisco since October 7, 2008.
The court's decision did not affect the prohibition on same-sex marriage in California. That prohibition was added to the state constitution by voters through the passage of Proposition 8 in 2008. The lawsuit that brought about this ruling was focused on whether or not this restriction violated the federal Constitution's guarantee of equal protection under the law.
Same-sex couples who wish to be married but reside in states that prohibit such unions should note that there is no requirement under California law that you live in the city where you obtain your license. You can file an application with any county office that conducts business during regular working hours with no special expertise or training needed to process it. Same-sex couples who plan to visit California after their marriage needs to know that if they try to register at a county office then conduct themselves as if they were married, they will likely be issued a citation because California law does not recognize out-of-state marriages.
In conclusion, same-sex couples in California can apply for a marriage license and those licenses are valid until they are canceled.