Validity of Foreign Same Sex Marriages in California

On January 1, 2010, a new California statute became law.  Family Code section 308 has been amended to state that California will recognize same sex marriages lawfully entered into outside the state of California (see post below “Where are Same Sex Marriages Legal?”) prior to November 5, 2008, which was the date same sex marriages in California were deemed unlawful by way of amendment to the California Constitution.

If same sex couples entered into a lawful marriage outside of California after November 5, 2008, then California will recognize the rights and responsibilities of that relationship (similar to rights of Registered Domestic Partners) but the relationship cannot and will not be designated as a “marriage”.  This statute was enacted to honor the will of the People in enacting Proposition 8 while providing important protections to those unions legally entered into in other states.