Same Sex Laws

A term applied to Couples who live together in a relationship similar to a marriage (i.e., physically and/or emotionally intimate), but who are not married.

Cohabitation Agreement
An agreement you draft with your partner to establish your rights and responsibilities regarding each other’s income and property during the period of cohabitation, as well as your household expenses.

Same-sex or Gay Marriage
“Gay marriage” or “same-sex marriage” is a term for a legally and socially recognized marriage between a woman and a woman or a man and a man.

Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA
A US federal law signed by President Bill Clinton in 1996, which says no state needs to recognize a same-sex marriage, even if it is considered marriage in another state. And, that the Federal Government may not consider same sex partnerships as marriage for any purpose, regardless of any state law.

California Proposition 22 (a.k.a. California Defense of Marriage Act, a.k.a. the Knight Initiative) 
California’s ballot initiative preventing same-sex marriages, which defined marriage as, “a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary.”

In re Marriage Cases
A May, 2008 California Supreme Court case holding “that the California legislative and initiative measures limiting marriage to opposite-sex Couples violate the state constitutional rights of same-sex Couples and may not be used to preclude same-sex Couples from marrying.”

In re Marriage Cases ruled California Proposition 22 unconstitutional, granting gay Couples the right to legally marry.

Proposition 8 
In November, 2008 California State ballot proposition that overrode In re Marriage Cases, and restricted the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman. When Proposition 8 passed, it eliminated the right of same-sex Couples to marry. Language was added to the California state constitution which states, “Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”