California, What is My Status?
As you all know we were legally married in Massachusetts in August of 2009. In preparing questions for a radio interview this Friday, we wrote down – “What would you do if you moved to a state where your marriage was not recognized?” Though we don’t have an answer prepared for that one yet what brought the question to mind was the state of California. Not only has it been in the news with the Prop 8 hearings, but we are planning a move and that is our destination. On our most recent trip to San Francisco, we were reminded that as of January 1, 2010 our marriage is recognized by California law.
The same can be said in New York, Rhode Island, New Mexico and Washington, DC. All of these places deny same-sex marriage to their residents, but honor the legal standing of marriages from other states, like Massachusetts. The two tier rights system established by the open denial of marriage equality in these places has now become even more convoluted. A third class of citizen has been created, of which I am a part and in some ways ashamed to say has more rights than my brothers and sisters who have been battling for equality in these states.
The state of affairs regarding same-sex marriage in California is particularly interesting to me. Not only can residents no longer get married there, and my marriage is recognized, but the 18,000 marriages performed before Proposition 8 was voted in remain legally binding too. That means that the “second-class” gay and lesbian citizens in the state who cannot be married legally there, now also have the “option” to travel elsewhere, get legally married in one of the states where they are allowed to and bring that home to California with them. Talk about confusion!!
It was only a matter of time before the quagmire in the West could no longer be contained. The California Federal Court battle that is now taking place and aims to remove Proposition 8, will undoubtedly have national ramifications. I don’t see any immediate lasting resolution in this case, but that by no means spells disaster for those of us supporting and making a case for equality among GLBT people. In fact, as the future of appeals and arguments could continue for this case and the issue of same-sex marriage at large, this could be the very thing we need to positively bring same-sex marriage equality to the national stage.
In the meantime, Michael and I are fortunate enough to live in Massachusetts, where we will continue to be grateful for the freedom we have to exercise our rights. And while we do that – we will also continue to make work through this project that asks YOU to think about where you stand.