Monday, April 21, 2014

The Difference between Domestic Partnership and Same-Sex Marriage in California

Many people are confused about the differences between and domestic partnership and or a same-sex marriage in California.    A brief review is in order:


Domestic Partnership licenses were first issued in California in 2001 as a way of having the State recognize marriages between same-sex couples and also non-same-sex couples.     However, under Federal Law, this was not recognized as a marriage.   The laws were modified in 2003, 2005 and again in 2012.     The most recent changes prevent non-same-sex couples under age 62 from obtaining a Domestic Partnership license.     The reason people, particularly those of 62 years of age may want to obtain a Domestic Partnership license instead of marriage is to preserve social security and retirement benefits that were earned before marriage.       Parties to a Domestic Partnership license do not enjoy the same marriage benefits under Federal Law as either a traditional marriage or same-sex marriage.


Same sex marriages began in California in 2004 when the Mayor of San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex applicants in 2004.     However, those orders were later considered "void" by the California Supreme Court.   In June 2008, the State of California began issuing marriage licenses until late 2008 when the licenses were halted due to the filing of a Federal Lawsuit challenging the State's authority to issue licenses under "Proposition 8."   After being heard in District, Appellate and the U.S. Supreme Court, marriage licenses again resumed being issued in June 2013.


Both Domestic Partnerships and Same-Sex Marriages or terminated by a similar process to a Divorce.    Contact Attorney Kevin J. Kensik to find out about your rights.

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