Skip to main content

California Same-Sex Marriage Update

Same-sex marriages have a long global history dating back to Roman times, however, they have just recently become recognized in the United States and around the world.

While the recognition of same-sex marriages is relatively new, the challenges many same-sex couples face are similar to those of many heterosexual couples, such as divorce, property division, child custody, and marital benefits. However, some same-sex couples still face legal and social issues when it comes to the arena of family law.

Same-sex marriage continues to be an issue in many states, despite guidance from the US Supreme court. While it is the law of the land that same-sex marriages are legal, some counties and county workers have refused the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples

History of Same-Sex Marriage and Domestic Partnerships in California

While the history is brief, California has tended to give same-sex couples more rights than other states around the country. Since 2000, same-sex couples have been able to register for domestic partnerships. Domestic partnerships give couples many rights similar to those of married couples, but there were a few rights that remain left out. In 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the fundamental right to marry for same-sex couples is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. Prior to this Court ruling, the legality of same-sex marriage has fluctuated. In 2008, the  California Supreme Court ruled that the ban on marriage between two individuals of the same sex was unconstitutional. For a brief period of time, same-sex marriage was legal in California because of this ruling.

Voters in California responded to this by passing Proposition 8, which restricted marriage to only a man and a woman. Any same-sex couples that got married during the time before Proposition 8 was passed would remain legally married, however, proposition 8 prevented any new same-sex couples from obtaining a marriage license. In 2010, a Judge ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional and this decision was appealed to the Supreme Court. In 2013, the Supreme Court decided the case Hollingsworth v. Perry in a way that had the effect of legalizing same-sex marriage in California.

Differences Between a Domestic Partnership and Marriage

Although the Supreme Court has legalized same-sex marriage, California still offers the option to have a domestic partnership. The California Secretary of State processes applications for domestic partnerships while local counties handle the processing of marriage licenses. There are also some differences in the specific benefits entitled to the different types of couples.

How Can a Los Angeles Family Law Attorney Help?

Like heterosexual marriages, same-sex marriages and domestic partnerships can be accompanied by many complications and hardships. An experienced family law attorney can help work through family law issues and explain the differences between a domestic partnership and marriage and how to draft agreements to protect the rights and obligations of both partners. Contact us today to protect your rights.

Berenji & Associates
8383 Wilshire Blvd #443
Beverly Hills, CA 90211