Friday, July 4, 2008

Gay Marriage in California: Red, White, ....& Blue

Marriage is as American as apple pie, true now in California for same sex couples as well. "If you want to get married, you have to annul your Canadian marriage first, because you can't get married twice" said a gay attorney acquaintance. No way. Our Canadian marriage is our marriage. We would never annul it.

We hope that a majority of Californians will defeat a ballot initiative in November that would overturn gay marriage. People are being told that the same-sex marriages previously performed would remain legal even if the initiative passes, but it still feels uncertain. For ourselves, we just want our Canadian marriage recognized, thgaye same as any other American couple who gets married outside the country and then returns. "Full faith and credit" as they say...

First we registered as Domestic Partners with the City of West Hollywood. Then the California Domestic Partner Registry law was passed. We registered in the first two weeks, our form
romantically notarized by the young clerk at Postal Annex. That was before the careful attorney's analysis in the gay press about the legal liabilities we would be signing up for (e.g. taking on each other's debt.) We stayed registered. Then a few years later the state upgraded the Registry and sent us a new certificate with a fancy gold seal. They dated our partnership from the time of the new certificate, rather than honoring the earlier date. Then later on laws shifted again. Our attorney sent out a letter to all her clients outlining the additional legal liabilities that Registered Domestic Partners would incur if they did not dissolve their partnership by December 31st of that year. We laughed and made no changes.

Our straight friends did not throw us showers and give us gifts until we went to Vancouver to get married. They congratulated us on the 'serious commitment' we were making - as if we wouldn't have done it sooner and closer to home if it had been legally available.

I predict the ballot initiative will be defeated, for two reasons. More young people will turn out to vote this time around. And the gay marriage business is big business. Out-of-state couples from cold-in-winter parts of the country will come to California to get married in the sunshine and honeymoon at fabulous resorts. Think of what it will do for creating jobs in the restaurant, hotel, flower, photography, and tourism industries. Think of the tax revenue it will generate for the state.

Meanwhile, even if California does recognizes our Canadian marriage, this will mean nothing if we ever move to another state. May we see full recognition everywhere in our lifetimes!

August 4th addendum: We got another opinion last night from an attorney friend, who said that Canadian marriages were a gray area - not mentioned in the California Supreme Court ruling. She said that we wouldn't have to get divorced in order to get married again in California, and recommended doing so before November 4th. Reason: if Obama is elected, he has said he would rescind the Defense of Marriage Act. This would mean that if we ever move to another state, a California marriage would have a greater chance of someday being recognized than a Canadian one. It all feels so convoluted and legalistic. We didn't get married to make a political point. We got married for the same reasons anyone does. So - we will take it as one more opportunity to renew our vows.

Posted by MultipleVisions

(My mixed media piece above is called "Cigar Box")