Oropeza Joins As Co-Author Of Same-Sex Marriage License Bill
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(February 14, 2004) -- Assemblywoman Jenny Oropeza (D, LB-Carson) has joined as a co-author of a bill that would prohibit the denial of marriage licenses by the State of CA to gay and lesbian couples.
CA law currently specifies that marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman...and further provides that only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in this state.
AB 1967 (full text below) would enact the "California Marriage License Nondiscrimination Act," providing that marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two persons.
The bill was introduced by Assemblymembers Leno, Goldberg, Kehoe, Laird, and Lieber. Its principal co-author is State Senator Sheila Kuehl. Assembly co-authors are Assemblymembers Chan, Dymally, Firebaugh, Hancock, Koretz, Levine, Longville, Montanez, Nation, Oropeza, Simitian, Steinberg, Wiggins and Yee.
AB 1967 was introduced on February 12, 2004, the same day San Francisco City Hall (in an act of civil disobedience) began issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. (Reuters coverage: Gays Flock to San Francisco City Hall to Wed).
Although the legislation wasn't (as of our posting) in the press release section of Assemblywoman Oropeza's web site, it was the subject of a press release issued in January 2004 by Assemblyman Mark Leno (D, San Francisco).
A Jan. 12, 2004 release from Assemblyman Leno's office said he planned to introduce the legislation in February. His January release stated:
"The time has come for California to honor its commitment to equality for all Californians," stated Assemblyman Leno, who chairs the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Caucus. "This bill will affirm the civil rights of gay and lesbian couples who wish to take on the responsibility of marriage and ensure that their children receive the same protections as children raised by married couples."
Leno’s legislation will follow a November ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court affirming the right of same sex couples to marry. The Massachusetts high court labeled the denial of marriage equality on the basis of sexual orientation "arbitrary," and declared that the Massachusetts Constitution, "affirms the dignity and equality of all individuals…and forbids the creation of second-class citizens." The Court also "failed to identify any constitutionally adequate reason for denying civil marriage to same-sex couples."
Presently, California couples may register with the State of California as domestic partners, affording them approximately sixteen rights and responsibilities. When recently passed AB 205 (Goldberg) takes effect in 2005, registered domestic partners will be entitled to hundreds of additional protections. AB 205 does not, however, grant all of the rights of marriage under state law, nor does it make couples and their children eligible for over a thousand federal protections offered to married couples and their children.
Equality California (EQCA), the statewide LGBT civil rights advocacy organization, will sponsor the bill. EQCA is a member of the California Freedom to Marry Coalition, an alliance of organizations committed to winning the right to marry for all California citizens. "The denial of marriage licenses to same sex couples is nothing less than state-sanctioned discrimination," stated Geoffrey Kors, EQCA Executive Director. "This legislation will ensure that we actually treat LGBT couples and their children the same as other families under the law," he said.
Proposition 22, an initiative passed by California voters in 2000, was designed to prevent California from being forced to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples who were married outside of California. (CA Family Code Section 308) However, that law did not change the criteria for issuance of marriage licenses within California, which is the subject of Leno’s bill. (CA Family Code Sections 300, 301 and 302)
"For too long, the right to marry has been denied to thousands of Californians based on their sexual orientation, giving in to the destructive stereotype that same-sex relationships are inherently inferior to opposite-sex relationships," stated Leno. "This bill will ensure that our state treats our loving, committed relationships with the respect they deserve," he said.
AB 1967 text follows:
BILL NUMBER: AB 1967 INTRODUCED
INTRODUCED BY Assembly Members Leno, Goldberg, Kehoe, Laird, and
(Principal coauthor: Senator Kuehl)
(Coauthors: Assembly Members Chan, Dymally, Firebaugh, Hancock,
Koretz, Levine, Longville, Montanez, Nation, Oropeza, Simitian,
Steinberg, Wiggins, and Yee)
FEBRUARY 12, 2004
An act to amend Sections 300, 301, and 302 of the Family Code,
relating to marriage.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 1967, as introduced, Leno. Gender-neutral marriage.
Existing law provides that marriage is a personal relation arising
out of a civil contract between a man and a woman. Existing law
provides for the issuance of marriage licenses, as specified.
Existing law further provides that only marriage between a man and a
woman is valid or recognized in this state.
This bill would enact the "California Marriage License
Nondiscrimination Act," which would instead provide that marriage is
a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between 2
persons. The bill would make conforming changes with regard to
consent, and would make a specified finding and declaration.
By adding to the duties of county employees, this bill would
impose a state-mandated local program.
The California Constitution requires the state to reimburse local
agencies and school districts for certain costs mandated by the
state. Statutory provisions establish procedures for making that
reimbursement, including the creation of a State Mandates Claims Fund
to pay the costs of mandates that do not exceed $1,000,000 statewide
and other procedures for claims whose statewide costs exceed
This bill would provide that, if the Commission on State Mandates
determines that the bill contains costs mandated by the state,
reimbursement for those costs shall be made pursuant to these
Vote: majority. Appropriation: no. Fiscal committee: yes.
State-mandated local program: yes.
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
SECTION 1. This act shall be known and may be cited as the
"California Marriage License Nondiscrimination Act."
SEC. 2. Section 300 of the Family Code is amended to read:
300. (a) Marriage is a personal relation arising out
of a civil contract between
a man and a woman
two persons , to which the consent of the parties capable of
making that contract is necessary. Consent alone does not constitute
marriage. Consent must be followed by the issuance of a license and
solemnization as authorized by this division, except as provided by
Section 425 and Part 4 (commencing with Section 500).
(b) Where necessary to implement the rights and responsibilities
of spouses under the law, gender-specific terms shall be construed to
be gender-neutral, except with respect to Section 308.5.
SEC. 3. Section 301 of the Family Code is amended to read:
301. An Two unmarried male
persons of the age of 18 years or older
, and an unmarried female of the age of 18 years or older,
and who are not otherwise disqualified, are
capable of consenting to and consummating marriage.
SEC. 4. Section 302 of the Family Code is amended to read:
302. An unmarried male or female person
under the age of 18 years is capable of consenting to and
consummating marriage if each of the following documents is filed
with the county clerk issuing the marriage license:
(a) The written consent of the parents of each underage person, or
of one of the parents or the guardian of each underage person.
(b) A court order granting permission to the underage person to
marry, obtained on the showing the court requires.
SEC. 5. The Legislature finds and declares that this act does not
amend or modify Section 308.5 of the Family Code, which addresses
marriages from other jurisdictions, as enacted by an initiative
SEC. 6. Notwithstanding Section 17610 of the Government Code, if
the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains
costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and
school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7
(commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the
Government Code. If the statewide cost of the claim for
reimbursement does not exceed one million dollars ($1,000,000),
reimbursement shall be made from the State Mandates Claims Fund.
Feb. 13 From printer. May be heard in committee March 14.
Feb. 12 Read first time. To print.
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