Prop 8 and what it means for your marriages

Yetta Kurland gives advice.

Dear Yetta:

Thank you for being there for our community in the fight for marriage equality. I wonder if you can help me understand how this Prop 8 decision effects my marriage (my partner and I married in California in August of last year) and also just what this means for the marriage equality fight. Also, we live in New York. Does this mean our marriage is not valid?

-Disappointed & Confused

Dear Disappointed,

First, rest assured—you and the other 18,000 same-sex couples who were married in California since the state Supreme Court overturned the ban in May of 2008 are all… still married! But you ask a good question: What does the Prop 8 decision mean to the movement?

Well, there is good news and bad news. The bad news is that the California Supreme Court’s ruling to uphold Proposition 8 prevents other same-sex couples from marrying in California. The good news is the Court’s ruling is not retroactive—meaning those couples who were married in California will remain legally married. The other good news if you read between the lines of the unanimous Court decision is that while it takes away our right to use the word “married,” which is very important, it does not take away our constitutional right to be recognized as a family. Not the decision we wanted, but also not the decision our “storm-fearing” opponents wanted.

Also, New York will recognize your marriage! Ironically, New York is one of the few states that does not allow same-sex marriage but fully recognizes same-sex marriages entered into elsewhere.

But all that could change. Perhaps in response to Prop 8 and thanks to Governor Paterson, New York is currently considering a bill to allow marriage equality which could pass in days!

What you can do? Go to, find out who your senator is and call them—today. Tell them you vote and you want them to vote for Marriage Equality… or else!

Happy Gay Pride,

Email questions to or call 212-253-6911

*This column is not a consultation with an attorney and should in no way be construed as such or as a substitute for such consultation. Anyone with legal issues or concerns should seek the advice of her own attorney.

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