2010 Proposition 8 And Marriage Cases Update

California Demographics for formalization of relationships are very complicated with Proposition 8 and the marriage cases for same sex couples. As of May 15, 2008, the formalization was marriage for opposite sex couples and registered domestic partnership for sam sex couples and also for opposite sex couples over the age of 65. As of June 16, 2008, the formalization increased a category to add same sex marriages in addition to opposite sex marriages and registered domestic partnerships. As of November 5, 2008, the option of same sex married couples was eliminated however approximately 18,000 married same sex couples still are considered married under California law however not under federal law. This was codified in Family Law Code Section 308 subdivision b.

The key dates are as follows:

  • Domestic Partner Law enacted on January 1, 2005
  • Marriage Cases decision issued on May 15, 2008
  • Marriage Cases decision was final on June 16, 2008
  • Electorate considers Proposition 8 on November 4, 2008
  • Actions filed to stay Proposition 8 on November 5, 2008
  • California Constitution Article 1 Section 7.5 with text “only marriage between a man and woman is valid and recognized in California” effective on November 5, 2008
  • California Supreme Court issues Order to Show Cause to consider issues in the first three cases
  • on November 19, 2008
  • Election results certified on December 13, 2008 [52.3% in favor and 47.7 not in favor]
  • Briefs due at California Supreme Court on January 5, 2009
  • Oral Arguments before California Supreme Court on March 5, 2009
  • California Supreme Court decides Proposition 8 valid and that marriages in California between June 16, 2008 and November 2008 are valid

Senate Bill 54 amended Family Law Code Section 308 to create statutory recognition for out of state same sex marriages. The California Legislature enacted and the Governor of California signed Senate Bill 54 into law on October 11, 2009. States where same sex marriage is legal are Connecticut, Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia. As such, these marriages would be recognized as valid in California. This has been codified in Family Law Code Section 308 subsection c.

Countries where same sex marriage is legal are Spain, Belgium, Canada, Sweden, South Africa and Mexico City. It is not clear whether these marriages would be recognized under California law at this time and this area of the law is very unsettled.

Currently, there are five categories which are considered for California demographics today: opposite sex marriage; Family Law Code Section 308 subsection c marriages; approximately 18,000 same sex marriages under Family Law Code Section 308 subdivision b, registered domestic partnerships and couples who cannot marry under California law. These include same sex couples but also some additional categories apply such as age and familial relationship [incestuous marriages] and persons who are already married [bigamous marriages] and those who lack capacity to marry for other reasons.

Other issues in family law cases can include child custody, child visitation, alimony, family law, legal separation, father’s rights, mother’s rights, annulment, spousal support, family law court and procedures, paternity, divorce, Uniform Child Custody and Jurisdictional Enforcement Act and many other topics.

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