sneak attacks

Prop 8 Be Damned: What If California Recognized Other States’ Gay Marriages?


When the California Supreme Court in May decided to ban all same-sex marriages from that point forward, but keep valid the 18,000 gay marriages that already went down, it never addressed one other little matter: what to do about out-of-state gay marriage. Enter State Sen. Mark Leno, who wants to give the Mormon Church an aneurysm with a new bill that would recognize those unions.

Just like Washington D.C.’s City Council did, California could be en route to banning gay marriage in its own borders, but opening itself up to gay Iowans and Bay Staters who wed in their home states. S.B. 54 would amend state family law and, argues Leno, remain within the confines of the court’s ruling.

The fine print: Only couples who wed out of state before Prop 8 passed would get to use the word marriage; couples who wed afterward would receive marriage rights, but not the M-word. The bill would seemingly encourage — or at least not disallow — Californians to travel to other states where gay marriage is legal, tie the knot, and return home demanding the same rights as married heteros.

Naturally, Prop 8 supporters are upset. Pacific Legal Institute president Brad Dacus calls the bill a “cheap shot.” Which it totally is! But no cheaper than, say, his team’s decimation of the wedding industry.

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  • John K.

    I’m glad you got to the details–that it only applies to couples married before Prop. 8 passed–because I think there is a great misunderstanding about that. Any bill that recognized future marriages from out of state would be unconstitutional under Prop. 8. I don’t really see the huge benefit to California couples though. They can currently get a domestic partnership in California and get “all” the rights of marriage there, and going out of state to get married in another state and coming back to California would just revert that marriage back to a DP, so why bother? I suppose if you plan to move out of state again to a state that recognizes the marriage, or assuming Prop. 8 is repealed, their marriage might be automatically recognized in Cali from that point forward, but it doesn’t necessarily seem like it benefits currently unmarried Cali couples nearly as much as it benefits out-of-state couples married before, because now they can move to California and be recognized as “married.”

  • Flex

    Will California be checking marriage certificates? If a straight couple moves here, and claims to be married, they are automatically accepted as a married couple.

  • galefan2004

    I was under the impression that you had to prove legal citizenship in the states that allowed gay marriage to be presented with a marriage license and be legally married in those states.

  • Franc

    Here’s why this bill makes sense. States normally recognize marriages performed legally from other states. It’s called states rights. I was married to my partner in Canada before California banned gay married. For a time my marriage was recognized in California. I’m now planning to move to Canada and unless it’s clarified in the law, my marriage which was legal for several years may well be illegal in California? Could your marriage sustain that? I’m applying for a mortgage currently and the broker asked us if we were married. I didn;t know how to answer the question, so I just told him what the situation was. He didn’t know how to fill out the loan application either. In order to be protected legally, should my spouse and I sign up in California for a “domestic partnership” or is that not legal, since technically we’re already married in several states.

  • Jaroslaw

    #3 Galefan – provisions vary from state to state about all the laws. Vermont will civil unionize anyone, but you have to live there a year to get a divorce!

    What is offensive to me is that straight couples from anywhere else in the world are accepted as married when the come to the USA and we don’t even accept our own states?

    I’m sure the legal beagles are waiting for the “right” moment to challenge this nonsense under the “full faith & credit” clause of the Constitution. But it seems clear enough to me the Full Faith clause applies to same sex marriages albeit I admit I’m not a lawyer.

  • Joe Mustich, Justice of the Peace

    I’m officiating this afternoon for two men from San Francisco who have travelled to Connecticut to wed.

    I’m looking forward to meeting them, and their families and friends too.

    Kudos to New England and Iowa for supporting civil marriage.

    Cheers guys!

    Joe Mustich, Justice of the Peace,
    Washington, Connecticut USA.

    It’s time CA. It’s time America.

  • Alex

    Why does the Querty call the bill a “cheap shot” instead of pointing out how necessary the legislation is. In fact, why does Querty constantly criticize the work others are doing so that gays and lesbians can achieve equality — this blog also put down boies’s Wall Street Journal article and the Meet in the Middle Rally in Fresno. I seriously question the motives of Queerty.

    Mark Leno’s bill is anything but a “cheap shot.” The California Supreme Court said in a footnote that it did not address the issue of out of state marriages, so that left it to the Legislature to fill the gap. The Court also said same-sex couples MUST be afforded the same rights and priviledges as hetero-marriages, but can’t use the name for any marriages into after the effective date of Prop 8. This bill clarifies that post Prop 8 out-of-state marriage will be treated like a domestic partnership (i.e., all the rights but not the marriage name). That’s a cheap shot?

  • DaveO

    I made this argument before, and I’ll make it again. This law does not in any way recognize other states’ marriages. What it does is expressly forbid recognition of such marriages (ones entered into post-prop8) by forcing them to be treated as a domestic partnership. Using language that this bill in some way recognizes gay marriage is playing into the opposition’s hands.

  • Cam

    You have to give equal rights under the law. You can’t call it marriage for one couple and have it be exactly the same for another couple but not call it “Marriage”.

  • Blake Jackson

    This article has nothing to do with the Mormon Church. Why is it mentioned?? Plus use its proper name. There is really no such thing as a “Mormon” Church.

  • Bitch Republic

    @11: When the Mormon church accepts the reality that gay people exist instead of referring to us as people suffering from same-sex attraction, I’ll call it by its chosen name.

  • strumpetwindsock

    @Blake Jackson:

    Don’t be silly.

    On the first point – the church bankrolled and actively promoted Prop 8. Sorry, but they are active participants. They are not shy about it either, and admit it openly in their own press releases:

    And here’s another one of their own press releases referring to themselves as the Mormon Church:

  • Tim and Earl

    Gee, since we two Pennsylvanians are now married in IA, MA, NY, VT, CT, DC, etc., by virtue of our 2003 Canadian marriage, this bill would re-“marry” us in CA now that Prop8 had divorced us in CA!

    We love being married after 33 years together being engaged marry in PA where we two American citizens live.

    We pay equal taxes without equal civil marriage rights. Equality is our birthright as Americans.

  • shadow_man

    John K.: Separate but equal died many many decades ago. Get with the times.

    Homosexuality is not a sin according to the Bible. Any educated Christian would know that. Scholars who have studied the Bible in context of the times and in relation to other passages have shown those passages (Leviticus, Corinthians, Romans, etc) have nothing to do with homosexuality. These passages often cherry-picked while ignoring the rest of the Bible. The sins theses passages are referring to are idolatry, prostitution, and rape, not homosexuality.

  • M Shane

    @ No. 1 · John K.

    I’m really happy to have you set out the truth of the “marriage” issue & prop. 8. Had I known that there was a domestic partnership law in effect in California, it would have been clear that the gays making all the fuss are a bunch of religious fanatics themselves.

    I don’t appreciate being decieved about that by so many people. If they have virtually got all of the rights of marriage couples their whinning is just stupid. They should go to church and puele instead of wasting everyone elses time with a religious fetish.

    If gay people were truly liberated and happy with thier difference from straight people they would bedelighted with getting their oun version of partnership rights. Instead they want to be housewifes like mom and have the churches blessing at the expense of people who are authentically gay

    There are enough real issues without dragging the rest of us into a crackpot religious war.

  • shadow_man

    Homosexuality is not a choice. Just like you don’t choose the color of your skin, you cannot choose whom you are sexually attracted to. If you can, sorry, but you are not heterosexual, you are bi-sexual. Virtually all major psychological and medical experts agree that sexual orientation is NOT a choice. Most gay people will tell you its not a choice. Common sense will tell you its not a choice. While science is relatively new to studying homosexuality, studies tend to indicate that its biological.
    Gay, Straight Men’s Brain Responses Differ,2933,155990,00.html

    There is overwhelming scientific evidence that homosexuality is not a choice. Sexual orientation is generally a biological trait that is determined pre-natally, although there is no one certain thing that explains all of the cases. “Nurture” may have some effect, but for the most part it is biological.

  • Jim

    @M Shane: Feds only recoginze MARRIAGE. Seperate but equal has been proven to be anything but.

    I don’t give a flying fuck about religion – yours or anyone elses. I want the SAME RIGHTS AS EVERYONE ELSE. Not VIRTUALLY the same. See the difference?

    The only reason you could have been “decieved” is by not learning about things for yourself – whose fault is that?

  • schlukitz


    Brother M Shane said…

    Instead they want to be housewifes like mom and have the churches blessing at the expense of people who are authentically gay

    Wow, Brother Shanes’s disdain for the gay community is so obvious as to be downright painful. I’ve heard some really deprecating statements from M Shane before, but this one really takes the cake. It sounds exactly like something DuttyBarb or SM might have said.

    First of all, no one in the LGBT community has called for any kind of recognition from the church, much less their blessings. It would, indeed, be a cold day in hell before that ever happened.

    Secondly, he fails to understand that not only do the Mormoms and the church not want us to have same-sex marriage privileges, they do not even want to have any kind of a civil-union or partnership that even suggests a committed relationship with any of the benefits of such a union implied.

    Any such relationship, irregardless of what it is called, remains an abomination and a sin according to their bible…and they will stand on that position until hell freezes over.

    Evidently, M Shane is also unaware that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have refused to back that portion of the UAFA bill for LGBT people in committed, long term, bi-national relationships either. Which means that people like InExile and I cannot sponsor our partners for American Citizenship like straight couples can.

    But, that is not M Shane’s problem, is it? M Shane has made it abundantly clear that he resents being “dragged” into a “crackpot religious war” that he feels does not concern him.

    Guess M Shane never heard of Pastor Martin Niemoeller’s poem, “First they came…” either.

  • Jim

    @schlukitz: I believe the list of things MShane doesn’t know would be far too extensive to list – even on the internet.

  • schlukitz


    Oh, and then there was the by now, classic…

    There are enough real issues comment.

    It’s like telling a cancer patient that he is being selfish by wanting to know if there have been any recent medical breakthroughs in cancer research and that should he should be concerned with issues like the Environment, the eminent collapse of the economy and other more important stuff like that.

  • Vanhattan

    @M Shane:

    Obviously, you don’t seem to understand why I want my equal civil rights. A few expamples to spell it out for you: I want to be able to pay the same taxes for the same rights, not more taxes for less rights. I want to cross the border as a family, instead of complete strangers in the eyes of US customs. I want my partner to share in my health care plan and not have to treat that as taxable income unlike my straight working peers. If I die before my partner, I want him to be able to pull off of Social Security that I have paid into for the last 30 years. If I die, I want him to inherit all of our assets 100% tax free like our neighbors instead of paying outrageous inheritance tax gouging rates. Etc., etc..

    Did any of this have anything to do with religion? No it doesn’t. It has everything to do with hate. And if you think that just by existing as an ignorant gay person that you seem to be, does not mean that the religious right will not try to fuck up your life at every turn just like they have mine.

    Grow up, grow a spine and please open your eyes to the reality around you before you continue to make a complete ass out of yourself everytime you voice your opinion.


  • hyhybt

    @John K.: Forget Prop 8 being repealed: at some point, DOMA will go. It may not be for another ten years or more, but it won’t last forever. And once it does there will be a *big* difference between living in California but married elsewhere and just having a California DP. Do it right, now, and avoid having to do it over later.

  • SM

    @M Shane:

    The Churches are the ones dragging LGBT people into the War. Not the other way around. Go up to some of your straight married friends and tell them to swap their marriage for a civil union.


    This is the United States, if you think its OK to walk into a voting booth and vote “yes” to eliminate given rights, you should check yourself harshly.

    It does not matter who is on the chopping block in a voting booth. You don’t elimate rights in this country..and you can fill in the blank for any group.

  • Jaroslaw

    Great points as always STRUMP – thanks.

  • Bill

    It is ALWAYS the way of the bigot to blame the oppressed for their oppression.

    M Shane would do well to take a lesson from History.

    And then by shutting his ugly mouth.

  • schlukitz


    I am solidly, 100% behind you on this issue.

  • Cam

    @M Shane: You said “I’m really happy to have you set out the truth of the “marriage” issue & prop. 8. Had I known that there was a domestic partnership law in effect in California, it would have been clear that the gays making all the fuss are a bunch of religious fanatics themselves. ”

    The domestic partner law in Ca. doesn’t grant all the benefits, of marriage, legal, financial, or with regard to insurance. It doesn’t even come close.

  • Cam


    coming from someody who disagrees with you …A LOT on here.

    Well said!!

  • youcanthandlethetruth

    @Cam: Then why not work on improving civil unions instead of trying to take on the majority of Americans, who don’t want to redefine marriage to accommodate homosexuals?

    Imagine having civil unions all over the country, a special contract just for homosexuals. How special would that make you feel?

    After all homosexuals have special privileges in employment and property law, and soon they will get their Hate Crime Law passed. So why not a special version of marriage for homosexuals called a civil union?

    Unless the homosexuals just want to piss people off?

  • SM


    Here is some truth. This is the United States. We treat people EQUALLY in this country. There IS NO DEBATING THAT.

    You can debate until your little face turns bright red and you will still lose.

    Equality is walking into a voting booth and being able to give the SAME RIGHTS to people DIFFERENT than you. If you CANNOT DO THAT YOU DO NOT STAND FOR EQUALITY AND FREEDOM IN THIS COUNTRY.

  • youcanthandlethetruth

    Are pedophiles and polygamists different from you?

    Should they have the right to marry redefined to accommodate their chosen sexual dysfunction?

    After all this is the United States and everyone is equal.

  • M Shane

    No. 26 · Bill : perhaps you would gain something by resorting your brain more and your victim mentality less? I don’t know of any “history” that is eqivalent to this situation

    No. 30 · youcanthandlethetruth : This is an intelligent perspective:
    Then why not work on improving civil unions instead of trying to take on the majority of Americans, who don’t want to redefine marriage to accommodate homosexuals?
    . . .Unless the homosexuals just want to piss people off?

    The reason why so many gay people from foreign secuar countries think thaty we are all nuts. Logistics dictate that if you really want the right involved in marriage and not the fetish or quasirespectability you would’nt go in waving flags that just enrage people senseless as that is it still is what happens. Deal with the facts!

  • M Shane

    The fact of the matter is that if you wanted a set of rights like those for married couples , but authentically for gay people, youi would be seeking that. Your perspective shows a profound ignorance of the issue which gave birth to the marriage sensability.
    The very Idea was part and parcle of the right wing push by Andrew Sullivan to take advantage of the guilt that arouse from peoples’s having lead a lifestyle which perportedly promoted aids. While this was a sad coincidence Sulivan , with his Catholic shame and his pal Bawer used this as a means to push gay peole into believing that they needed to Mainstream or be assumilated into straight culture and to disown anything that made us unique, which we are.

    If someone thinks that it takes spinelessness and not courage to stand up and assert that I am unique and still deserve, albeit by a different title, rights that other people have, than you are clearly in need of some self respect.
    If people want marriage then they shoukld fight with the churches. If you want rights ask for rights.

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