Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Bill removing ‘husband,’ ‘wife’ from CA codes heads to governor

Supreme Court Proposition 8 plaintiff Kris Perry, left, feeds a piece of wedding cake to her wife Sandy Stier during a community reception held in September of 2013  (Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Supreme Court Proposition 8 plaintiff Kris Perry, left, feeds a piece of wedding cake to her wife Sandy Stier during a community reception held in September of 2013.
(Photo: Rick Gerharter)

Legislation that changes the terms “husband” and “wife” to the gender-neutral term “spouse” in more than a dozen sections of California code is headed to the desk of California’s governor.

The state Senate today (Thursday, June 23) voted 33-0 to approve Senate Bill 1005 by Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara). The Legislature’s upper chamber had approved the bill in April, but after Assembly members amended it, it needed to come back for a concurrence vote by the senators before heading to the desk of Governor Jerry Brown.

The term “spouses” will also include registered domestic partners under the bill. The Assembly, which passed the bill last Thursday, June 16, made a few tweaks to those sections of the legislation, thus necessitating today’s second vote on the Senate floor.

“It’s fitting to close out Pride Month by sending this bill to the governor for his signature. By removing outdated language from the state code, the law will now accurately reflect the rights of registered domestic partners and same-sex married couples in California,” stated Jackson. “This helps ensure the equal and fair treatment of all couples in California.”

This Sunday, June 26, will mark the third anniversary since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed to stand a lower court ruling invalidating Proposition 8, the same-sex marriage ban voters adopted in 2008, leading the way for same-sex marriages to resume in the Golden State. Sunday, which coincides with this year’s San Francisco Pride parade, also marks the one-year anniversary since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled all 50 states must allow same-sex couples to wed.

Jackson’s legislation follows on the heels of a number of code language clean up bills that gay state Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) passed in previous years. Jackson introduced it not only in response to same-sex couples being able to legally marry in the state, but also in recognition of those couples, whether same-sex or opposite-sex, that have decided to remain in, or enter into, registered domestic partnerships.

“Marriage equality has been California law since 2013, but that reality has not reached all parts of California code that affect same-sex married couples and families, or those in domestic partnerships,” stated Rick Zbur, executive director of the statewide LGBT advocacy group Equality California. “This bill simply requires that California statutes uniformly reflect and respect the fact that marriage equality is the law of the land.”

SB 1005 is the first of five pieces of LGBT-related legislation to secure final approval in either the state Assembly or Senate before being sent this summer to Brown for his signature.

— Matthew S. Bajko, June 23, 2016 @ 3:03 pm PST
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