Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-Sex Marriage and Divorce

  • Same-sex marriage is the marriage of two people of the same sex or gender who entered into a valid civil religious ceremony.
  • California allows same-sex marriages and will grant a divorce to same-sex couples who have lived in the state for six months or who were married in California and cannot divorce where they live.

The Road of Same-Sex Marriage in California

In 2013, California granted same-sex couples the right to marry. This occurred when the Supreme Court declined to hear the appeal in Hollingsworth v. Perry. The refusal to hear the case, reinstated the trial court ruling which invalidated proposition 8 that had stripped same-sex couples of the freedom to marry. Three years prior, in 2015,  the United States Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, stated that same-sex couples have the freedom to marry throughout the United States. Then on June 26, 2015, the court ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment requires states to allow same-sex couples to get marry and to recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed outside of their “home” state.

In addition, due to the Supreme Court’s 2013 ruling in Windsor v. United States, all married couples in the State of California including same-sex couples must be treated by the federal government as married, equally, and with respect.

Same-Sex Marriage in California

Since it is legal for same-sex couples to marry in California, same-sex couples follow the same steps to marry that heterosexual couples take. The couple will need to obtain a marriage license from the county recorder after filing the application and showing an I.D. that proves both are over 18 years of age. The license will be valid for 90 days.

Same-Sex Divorce In California

Same-sex couples that wish to divorce in Orange County need to have lived in the state for six months before filing for the divorce and in Orange County for three months.

Divorce can be a stressful season in anyone’s life whether it involves a same-sex marriage or a heterosexual marriage. Couples should seek the appropriate legal assistance needed in order ensure all proper procedures are followed.

If your partner and you got married in another state or country, you do not have to get married again in California because the state of California recognizes marriages performed in other jurisdictions. Its important to know same-sex marriages performed before Proposition 8 are legally valid.

As Justice Anthony Kennedy stated:

“No union is more profound than marriage, for it embodies the highest ideals of love, fidelity, devotion, sacrifice, and family. In forming a marital union, two people become something greater than once they were. As some of the petitioners in these cases demonstrate, marriage embodies a love that may endure even past death. It would misunderstand these men and women to say they disrespect the idea of marriage. Their plea is that they do respect it, respect it so deeply that they seek to find its fulfillment for themselves. Their hope is not to be condemned to live in loneliness, excluded from one of civilization’s oldest institutions.  They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.”

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