Same Sex Marriages

Hossein Berenji, Oct 02, 2016

As you may know, many people are opposed to same sex marriage. Their argument primarily rests on the traditional definition of a “marriage” as the union between one man and one woman; that is all. This narrow traditional definition, therefore, does not provide for gay and lesbian couples.

However, times have changed. We now accept that same sex couples should be afforded the same rights and the responsibilities as opposite sex couples. For this reason, some states, as well as California, now allow for same sex marriages. If you are interested in being married in such a fashion and need help, or if you have any questions about same sex marriage, it is important to seek the assistance and advice of an experienced divorce attorney at Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers. The relevant laws can prove to be quite convoluted.

Statistics on Same Sex Marriages

There are a lot of same sex marriages being performed across the nation. It is estimated that today there are around 491,000 same sex marriages across the United States. In the previous year, there was about 368,000; a significant increase, indeed. It is also predicted that around 3.9% of all United States adults identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Of these individuals, 9.6% report being married to a person of their same sex. Since the year 2015, the number has increased by 7.9%.

California’s Statistics

Numbers reveal that Oakland and San Francisco have the highest number of same sex marriages in the United States. San Francisco is the national leader in the number of male same sex marriages. 3.2% of all San Francisco marriages are of male same sex marriages. Oakland, on the other hand, has the highest number of female same sex marriages at 2.1% of all marriages.

California’s Marriage Law and Requirements

Again, same sex couples can marry in California since the United States Supreme Court overturned California’s infamous Proposition 8. If you are unfamiliar with Proposition 8, it placed a strict ban on same sex marriages. Now that this ban no longer applies and same sex couples may wed, let us quickly review California’s marriage law and its requirements.

First, it is necessary that a couple wishing to marry secure a “marriage license.” California is not one of the states that recognize common law marriages. You can obtain a marriage license from the county clerk. Note that California’s marriages licenses are only valid for 90 days. Once the marriage is complete, the couple must return the license to the county clerk’s office.

Furthermore, as per California’s marriage law, individuals who wish to be married must be 18 years of age. In addition, both spouses must voluntarily consent to the marriage. For this consent to be voluntary and valid, the consent of each spouse must be made freely and without pressure. In other words, a person must not be forced to marry his or her spouse. Also, if a person is bribed into marrying someone, courts will find that this consent is not voluntary and the resulting marriage will not be valid.

From here, both spouses must have capacity to enter into the marriage. For their capacity to be found valid, the spouses must be of sound mind and they must be fully capable of understanding and appreciating the nature of their acts of entering into a marital union. For instance, a person who is heavily intoxicated, or even drugged, at the time of his or her wedding, may be found to not have the requisite capacity to enter into the marriage. Thus, the marriage will be deemed void and not of legal effect.

Please note that in California this specific requirement of valid capacity does not bar a person with a mental illness from marrying. Rather, a person with a mental illness may freely enter into a marriage as long as this person can understand and appreciate what his or her obligations are to the person they are marrying. If he or she is capable of doing so, California will deem such person as being of a sound mind of the requisite capacity to marry. In addition, as with several other states nowadays, spouses no longer have to consummate the marriage for the marriage to be held valid and enforceable.   

Adoption for Same Sex Couples

There are nearly two million lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender individuals interested in adopted a child. As it turns out, same sex couples have the same rights to adopt a child as anyone else. Currently, it is reported that same sex couples have actually adopted 4% of all adopted children in the United States.

Of all the same sex couples households in the United States nearly 115,000 have children or have adopted a child or children. At this moment, there are around 22,872,151 married opposite sex couples with children and around 94,627 same sex couples with children.

You have probably heard the argument that a child needs both a mother and a father figure in their life to be raised properly. Let me assure, no evidence can affirm this. As a matter of fact, and according to the American Psychological Association, children with same sex parents will face some challenges during their life, but will ultimately be okay. They will grow to live a normal life.  

Have Questions? Seek the Assistance of an Attorney

If you have any questions or if you need assistance with this process, it is imperative that you seek the guidance of an experienced family law attorney. The legal system may prove to be too complex to attack alone. The lawyers at Berenji & Associates Divorce Lawyers are here for you.

Our law office is conveniently located in Beverly Hills and assists clients throughout Los Angeles including San Fernando Valley, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Santa Monica, Venice, Marina Del Rey, Westwood, Brentwood and South Bay. We can be reached at (310) 271-6290. Please contact our law office today to set up a consultation. We look forward to talking to you.