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Brown signs same-sex marriage bill into law

With a stroke of Gov. Jerry Brown’s pen Monday morning, California did away with its last statutory barriers to same-sex marriage.

Brown signed SB 1306 by state Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, which replaces references to “husband and wife” with gender-neutral language, bringing state statutes into line with the state and U.S. Supreme Court rulings recognizing marriage rights for same-sex couples. The bill officially takes effect Jan. 1.

“This legislation removes outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all married spouses equally, regardless of their gender,” Leno said in a news release.

The U.S. Supreme Court in June 2013 let stand California’s ruling that Proposition 8 of 2008 – which wrote a ban on same-sex marriage into the state constitution – was unconstitutional. By repealing Proposition 8, that ruling essentially restored the California Supreme Court’s 2008 ruling that had cleared the way for same-sex marriages; weddings resumed almost immediately.

Leno’s bill was cosponsored by Attorney General Kamala Harris, Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

“Although there is no question that same-sex couples can marry in California, the discriminatory language that remains on the statutory books creates confusion about the rights of same-sex couples,” NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell said in Leno’s news release. “This law makes it clear to everyone that same-sex couples can marry and that all spouses have the exact same rights and responsibilities under the law, regardless of gender.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Willis James

    Now that everyone can get married, shouldn’t we end public employee benefits for domestic partners?

    For 20 years I had a friend who lived with his girlfriend and got free Kaiser via her job with the county.
    Meanwhile, I paid from $300 to $600 per month for a Kaiser plan that was not nearly as good. (he also got 80% dental).
    He got this benefit as a result of some people not being able to marry, even though he could easily marry anytime he wanted.

    Now, with the change in the law, shouldn’t we end the practice of benefits unless you are married?
    Otherwise, any two people can claim to be domestic partners.

    I must be missing something if there is a case to keep the current system in place.

  • JohnW

    Interesting question, but I think the primary issue is the excessively generous benefits offered by the county. I knew a young woman who was uninsurable due to her medical history (cancer). She also was low income. She knew a guy (not her boyfriend) who had good coverage through his private sector employer. He got her on his coverage via a sham domestic partner arrangement. I’ll bet there’s a lot of that. I doubt his employer would have approved.

  • missionaccomplished

    Your friend had the best of BOTH worlds and WITHOUT THE COMMITMENT!!!

    I too agree we should end this practice.