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Gay Marriage Laws in California


Many people have been part of an effort aimed at legalizing gay marriage. In fact, in California, gay marriages used to be legally allowed and recognized. However, as of 2008, California Proposition 8, defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

In addition, Proposition 8 does not allow any other type of union to be recognized by the state. For several years previous to Proposition 8, domestic partnerships were recognized, which entitled partners to all of the rights and responsibilities of marriage. In fact, partners were legally allowed to change their last names, to match that of their partner.

In early 2008, there were oral arguments questioning equal rights for the LGBT community in California. Gay marriage was legally allowed for 6 months in 2008 because the State Supreme court held that the limitations on same sex unions violated the constitution. However, a public initiative reinstated the ban on gay marriage in California. Gay marriages performed during a certain time, still have the designation of marriage in California.

However, they are not likely to lean towards legalizing gay marriage in the immediate future. In California, gay marriages are no longer recognized. While, the state does not recognize new marriages in the LGBT community, is does grant the rights of marriage to same sex unions. In fact, Governor Schwarzenegger signed SB 54, which recognizes all gay marriages that took place before November, 2008. Those marriages could have taken place in any state, as long as they occurred before that date.

Proposition 8 was challenged in The Supreme Court of California but was upheld by a vote of 6-1. However, the courts allowed California gay marriages to remain valid if the took place prior to November 5, 2008. However, many people are making an attempt at legalizing gay marriage. In fact, Perry v. Schwarzenegger is a current case aimed at at legalizing gay marriage, by challenging the legal validity of Proposition 8.

The case could have have legal ramifications nationwide. Depending on the outcome, this case could be a large step toward legalizing gay marriage nationwide. While many in California still register domestic partnerships with the state, they are striving to regain the rights lost when Proposition 8 passed.

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