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Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in CA FAQ: Update, 6.28.13

Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in CA FAQ: Update, 6.28.13

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ACLU-CA, Equality California, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights: Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in CA FAQ: Update, 6.28.13
ACLU-CA, Equality California, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights: Marriage for Same-Sex Couples in CA FAQ: Update, 6.28.13

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MARRIAGE FORSAME-SEX COUPLESIN CALIFORNIA
Frequently Asked Questions
Last Updated: June 28, 2013
NOTE:
This document is intended to provide information for same-sex couples whoare considering getting married in California. It is not intended to be legal advice, andshould not be taken as such. For legal advice concerning your particular situation,please consult an attorney.
 
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GETTING MARRIED IN CALIFORNIA
Thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in
Hollingsworth v. Perry 
, same-sexcouples in California will very soon have the freedom to marry once again. Prop 8, theCalifornia constitutional amendment that stripped same-sex couples of the freedom tomarry, will soon be off the books and unenforceable.On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the sponsors of Prop 8 had nolegal right (or “standing”) to appeal the federal trial court’s decision that Prop 8 isunconstitutional because allowing same-sex couples to marry caused them no harm.This historic ruling restores the freedom to marry to same-sex couples in California.Additionally, thanks to the Supreme Court’s ruling in
Windsor v. United States 
,
all 
married couples in California – including same-sex couples – must be treated by thefederal government as married, equally, and with respect. On June 26, 2013, theSupreme Court struck down Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act(DOMA), which had required the federal government to treat same-sex couples asunmarried and prohibited them from granting same-sex married couples any of thefederal benefits, protections, responsibilities based on marriage. The Court ruled thatDOMA Section 3 violates our Constitution’s guarantee of equality.
1.
 
When exactly can same-sex couples in California start gettingmarried again?
The Ninth Circuit lifted the stay preventing California from marrying same-sex coupleson June 28, 2013. All same-sex couples should be able to marry anywhere in Californiabeginning immediately.2.
 
Will same-sex couples anywhere in California be able to marry?
 Yes. The legal order (or injunction) that stops the State of California from enforcingProp 8 applies to state officials throughout the state. This means that Prop 8 cannotbe enforced anywhere in the state. There may be efforts to try to limit the effect of theinjunction to apply to only some parts of the State but we strongly believe that thoseefforts are futile and will not succeed.
3.
What do we have to do to marry in California?
To marry in California, you and your partner must get a marriage license from theoffice of the Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk of any California county, and then have aceremony performed by someone authorized to solemnize marriages in California(such as a judge or clergy member) within 90 days. Both partners must go together tothe county office, fill out the marriage license application, and present a government-
 
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issued picture ID and proof that you are over 18 years old. (If either or both is youngerthan 18, different procedures apply.) Some counties have their marriage licenseapplications posted online so you can fill them out before you arrive at the CountyClerk’s office. The license fee varies by county but generally is less than $100. Noblood test or health certificate is required. Call ahead or visit the county’s website tolearn the hours, locations and fees of the county offices that issue licenses.The marriage license is valid for 90 days, which means you have 90 days to go getmarried. Your marriage can be performed anywhere in California. The person whoperforms your ceremony must be authorized to solemnize marriages in California andmust complete and sign your marriage license after the ceremony. In addition, at leastone witness 18 years old or older must sign the marriage license. The license thenbecomes your marriage certificate, which must be returned to the same county inwhich you obtained the license for filing within ten days of the ceremony. You may alsobe able to have your ceremony performed at the county office on the same day youobtain a marriage license for an additional fee.
4. Who can marry us?
In California, persons who are legally authorized to solemnize marriage ceremoniesinclude: clergy members; active and retired state court judges and courtcommissioners and assistant commissioners; commissioners of civil marriages orretired commissioners of civil marriage; justices or retired justices of the U.S.Supreme Court or judges, magistrate judges, retired judges, or retired magistrate judges of other federal courts; state legislators or constitutional officers of the state;and members of Congress who represent a district within this state.Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners of Civil Marriages perform civil marriageceremonies by appointment at designated county offices. There is a fee, whichgenerally is less than $50. Call ahead or visit the county website for more information.A couple can also have a friend deputized to perform their marriage ceremony througha county “Deputy Commissioner for a Day” program. The specific requirements vary bycounty.
5. Should my partner and I marry?
Marriage is a serious legal and personal commitment. Before getting married, couplesshould educate themselves about the legal consequences of marriage.Married same-sex couples also face complications that married heterosexual couplesdo not face, due to the fact that, at present, many states will not respect marriages ofsame-sex couples and certain questions about how the federal government intends tohandle recognition of marriages if a couple has moved to or now lives in a state that

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