(San Francisco, California, October 27, 2009) — The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) applauds the passage of California’s SB 54, a bill authored by Senator Mark Leno and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on October 11, 2009. SB 54 clarifies the rights and responsibilities of same-sex couples who get married outside of California. NCLR worked closely with Equality California and Senator Leno’s office to support the measure throughout the legislative process, from helping to draft the bill’s language, to testifying at committee hearings, to meeting with the Governor’s staff to answer questions about the bill’s effect.

NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell stated, “We are thrilled that Governor Schwarzenegger has taken another courageous stand in support of LGBTQ families in California. SB 54 is a common-sense clarification of the rights of same-sex couples and their families. Its enactment ensures that the state fulfills its constitutional obligation to recognize LGBTQ families to the fullest extent possible while staying within the bounds set by Prop 8. It also provides much-needed

clarity to LGBTQ families who had been left uncertain about their rights and responsibilities following the California Supreme Court’s recent decision upholding Prop 8. We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of Senator Leno, Equality California, and Governor Schwarzenegger in speedily enacting this important clarification.”

Under SB 54, same-sex couples who married outside California prior to the passage of Proposition 8 in November 2008 are recognized as validly married in California. Same-sex couples who marry in other states or countries after the passage of Proposition 8 are entitled to all the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage under state law except for the name “marriage.”

NCLR has co-authored a document with Equality California entitled “SB 54 and Same-Sex Couples Who Marry Outside California,” which provides answers to frequently asked questions about the measure. That document is available on NCLR’s website at www.nclrights.org/SB54FAQ.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education.