Wednesday, July 02, 2014

California Legislature Passes Bill Enshrining Marriage Equality Into Statute

California Legislature Passes Bill Enshrining the Freedom to Marry in State Statutes

(Sacramento) Senate Bill 1306, authored by Senator Mark Leno and co-sponsored by Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, passed the Assembly on June 30 by a bipartisan vote of 54-16. The bill will bring California statutory law into line with the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2013 decision restoring the freedom to marry in California.

While both the California and U.S. Supreme Courts have affirmed the right for same-sex couples to marry, current state laws in many cases do not reflect that change. SB 1306 would ensure that references to “husband” and “wife” would be replaced with gender-neutral language such as “spouse” to recognize all married couples throughout the California code.
“In historic fashion one year ago, the U.S. Supreme Court restored the right of every loving couple to marry in California,” said Senator Leno, D-San Francisco. “Today we are sending a bill to the Governor’s desk ensuring that this landmark decision is clearly reflected in our state laws.”

"While we have achieved many milestones in the journey towards full equality for LGBT people – including the freedom to marry for same-sex couples – it's important that we completely erase discrimination from the books," said Rick Zbur, executive director-elect of EQCA. "This important bill does just that, ensuring that California statutes fully reflect and respect the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. We applaud Senator Leno for authoring this important legislation and are proud to be a sponsor of it."

“We are grateful for Senator Leno’s legislation that will ensure the fair and equal treatment of all married couples in California,” said National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director Kate Kendell. “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. This bill 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.”

The bill now moves to Gov. Brown’s desk.

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