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July 2, 2007

Dear Attorney General Brown:

Pursuant to Elections Code Section 9005, we have reviewed the proposed initiative regarding marriage (A.G. File No. 07‑0023).

Background

Federal Laws. The U.S. Constitution does not define marriage nor does it require states to define marriage. Current federal law only recognizes marriage between a man and a woman. (The law affects matters such as the receipt of federal benefits and federal taxes.)

State Laws. The State Constitution currently does not define marriage. Under current California statute, only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized. Couples of the same sex where both partners are at least age 18, or unmarried couples of the opposite sex where at least one partner is 62 years or older may register as domestic partners. In most instances, registered domestic partners are provided the same rights and benefits as married couples. Rights of marriage include, but are not limited to, alimony and community property rights.

Major Provisions

This measure amends into the State Constitution what is currently in statute and makes marriage only between a man and a woman valid or recognized in California. The measure does not affect “the rights, benefits and obligations” given to other domestic relationships under California law.

Fiscal Effect

The measure would have no fiscal effect on state or local governments. This is because there would be no change to the manner in which marriages are currently recognized by the state.


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