In case you weren’t clear on California Governor Jerry Brown’s position on redefining marriage to include same-sex couples (HINT: he’s for it), he just signed a law defining marriage as a “personal relation arising out of a civil contract between 2 persons.”
Previously, the state defined marriage as a “personal relationship arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman.”
The bill will also remove the words “husband” and “wife” from the state’s family code, to be replaced with the gender-neutral “spouse.” California’s family code is the portion of state law that defines legal marriage and outlines the responsibilities and privileges that come with it. The new law will take effect on January 1, 2015.
The new law will not change California’s constitution, which was amended to ban same-sex “marriage” in 2008 by a majority of voters. That amendment was struck down in 2010 by a homosexual judge who ruled it violated the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution. The amendment’s supporters appealed the ruling all the way to the Supreme Court, but the court ruled that they lacked standing to appeal the case, since it is technically the state attorney general who is supposed to defend state laws in federal court. Since California’s attorney general and governor both support gay “marriage,” they refused to continue the appeal, so the lower court’s decision still stands.
Although there is some debate about whether the lower court injunction barring enforcement of the amendment banning same-sex “marriage” applies to the entire state or just the two counties mentioned in the original lawsuit, the executive branch’s refusal to enforce the amendment means that gay nuptials are now effectively legal throughout California, despite the constitutional ban. County officials who have expressed reluctance to issue marriage certificates to same-sex couples in violation of the constitution have been threatened with prosecution by state officials.