California Governor Jerry Brown on
Monday signed legislation that brings state law in line with court
rulings allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry in the state.
Openly gay Democratic Senator Mark Leno
introduced SB 1306, which replaces references in state law to
“husband and wife” with language such as “spouse.” Bill
co-sponsors included Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, Equality
California (EQCA) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).
“I am pleased Governor Brown has
recognized the importance of this bill, which makes it explicitly
clear in state law that every loving couple has the right to marry in
California,” Leno said in a statement. “This legislation removes
outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all
married spouses equally, regardless of their gender.”
After the California Supreme Court in
2008 struck down the state's marriage ban, voters approved
Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a
heterosexual union. Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand a
lower court ruling declaring Proposition 8 unconstitutional,
effectively reinstating the state court's ruling.
“This law makes it clear to everyone
that same-sex couples can marry and that all spouses have the exact
same rights and responsibilities under the law, regardless of
gender,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell.
The bill takes effect on January 1,