A “domestic partnership” is a relationship between two individuals that is usually made up of a same-sex couple but may also be made up of an opposite-sex couple. The relationship is usually one that cannot be legalized by marriage.
Same-sex marriage. In May 2008, the state Supreme Court ruled that state laws excluding same-sex couples from marriage were unconstitutional, allowing same-sex couples to marry in California (In re Marriage Cases, 43 Cal. 4th 757 (Cal. 2008)). However, during the November 2008 election, a majority of voters approved Proposition 8, which amends the state constitution to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a district court ruling that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional because it violates federal equal protection and due process rights of same-sex couples in California ( Perry v. Brown,No. 11-17255 (9th Cir. 2012)). Proposition 8 remains in effect pending appeal.
Approximately 18,000 same-sex couples were married during the time that same-sex marriages were legal in California. The California Supreme Court has ruled that these marriages will remain legal (Strauss v. Horton, 46 Cal. 4th 364 (Cal. 2009)). Employees who are in legal same-sex marriages should be provided the same benefits that employers provide to employees with opposite-sex spouses.
Other jurisdictions. Same-sex marriages legally entered into in other jurisdictions before November 5, 2008, are recognized as legal same-sex marriages under California law (CA Fam. Code Sec. 308). Under the law, same-sex marriages entered into in another jurisdiction on or after November 5, 2008, may not be designated as a marriage in California, but ...