Marriage Equality USA

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Legislation - Enacted

SB 1306 - Marriage language

Author/Sponsor: Senator Leno 
Date Introduced: 21 February 2014
Date Enacted: 1 January 2015


  • California law contained antiquated language that defined marriage as "a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman." With this bill marriage becomes a civil contract between "two persons." The law also replaces a reference to couples taking each other as "husband and wife" to couples taking each other as "spouses." SB 1306 repeals Sections 300 (AB 607, 1977), 308 (The Marriage Recognition and Family Recognition Act, authored by Sen. Leno), 308.5 (Prop 22, California Defense of Marriage Act) of the Family Code, and amends Section 300 and other sections to be gender neutral. This legislation removes the statutory reference to marriage as a union "between a man and a woman" from the state's Family Code and updates the law with gender-neutral terminology so that it applies to all civil marriages. The bill was signed by Governor Jerry Brown on 7 July 2014 and became effective on 1 January 2015.
SB 1140 - Protecting Religious Freedom in Marriage

Author/Sponsor: Senator Leno, California Council on Churches IMPACT
Date Introduced:
 May 2012
Date Enacted: 30 September 2012

  • Defined marriage as a civil contract instead of a religious ceremony, and protected churches’ non-profit status even when clergy refuse to perform same-gender wedding ceremonies. From Equality California: "As we continue our efforts to achieve full equality, we must remove every possible barrier to securing the freedom to marry, including the false claim made by anti-equality advocates in California and elsewhere that allowing loving same-sex couples to marry will force clergy or places of worship to compromise their religious beliefs. As we anticipate the restoration of the freedom to marry in our state, SB 1140 (Leno) reaffirms the principles of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution with respect to the freedom of clergy to make faith-based decisions regarding which marriages they solemnize." 
AB 2700 - Separation Equity Act

Author/Sponsor: Senator Ma
Introduced: 19 February 2010
Enacted: 28 September 2010

  • Eliminated some of the legal barriers same-sex couples faced as a result of the State of California treating the relationships of same-sex couples differently. This bill also clarified that same sex couples married outside of California are able to dissolve their marriage in California.
SB 54 - Marriage Recognition and Family Protection Act

Author/Sponsor: Senator Leno
Introduced: 2 July 2009
Enacted: 1 January 2010

  • To recognize marriages of same-sex couples performed out-of-state as carrying all the same rights and responsibilities that spouses receive.