Marriage Equality News Bulletin
Parent Category: News Created on Thursday, 03 February 2005 Published Date Written by Baltimore Gonzalez
Some may ask "What is Marriage?" California law currently provides registered domestic partners with a significant number of legal rights, benefits, responsibilities, duties, and obligations available to married couples. Although California's domestic partner law is very important, it is not equal to marriage. Heterosexual married couples benefit from more than one thousand rights and responsibilities under federal law that are unavailable to domestic partners, the right to collect social security survivor's benefits, the right to family and medical leave, and the right to file joint income tax returns. Marriage is also not simply a legal status. It is a social institution that our society recognizes as the ultimate expression of love and commitment. Married couples are recognized as a family unit and are afforded a unique respect and dignity in our culture.
AB 19 does not restrict the practice of any religious belief. The federal and state Constitutions protect religious freedom. Religious officials may currently refuse to perform marriages that do not fulfill the requirements of their religious faith. The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act does not change this principle in any respect, but in fact re-enforces it. The bill does not require any religious official to perform marriages that conflict with their religious beliefs. Nothing in the Act will restrict the freedom of clergy members to refuse to perform marriages for same-sex partners.