The Los Angeles Conference and the Decision to Marry
by Ben Jarvis & Olin Thomas
Our Conference Committee has been receiving questions from couples considering the possibility of marrying during the 2008 Affirmation Conference and we wanted to provide some helpful information. Marriage is a very serious commitment and is not something that should be entered into on a whim nor taken lightly; but if you and your partner are in a long-term, committed relationship and have talked about tying the knot, there is now the option of getting married this October in California while you attend the conference in Los Angeles. The hotel is located on the coast at a lovely marina – which can make for a beautiful seaside wedding in presence of our Affirmation family.
After a recent California Supreme Court decision, marriage in California is now available to everyone. This means that if you choose to marry while you are in California, you and your partner will be legally bound together and will enjoy all the blessings, benefits, and responsibilities of any other married couple. Please give this matter a lot of thought because once you marry the only way to undo your marriage is through divorce or annulment. While California does not have a residency requirement in order to marry, there is a residency requirement for divorce. Also, if you are not a California resident, it is unclear if other states will recognize these marriages as full and equal to different sex marriages, even if they do not have laws specifically prohibiting such recognition. The Lambda Legal Defense Fund website has useful information about this topic which you should read, if you are considering marriage.
Please consult an attorney familiar with the laws of your home state and conduct your own research before making any major decision. This is a very new area of law which will be tested in practice and in court for some time to come.
So, if marriage is the best decision for you and your partner, what do you need to do in order to get married in the Golden State? Make plans to arrive on Thursday before the conference starts so that you will have time on Friday to go to the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk's Office. The closest office to the conference location is at the airport courthouse located at 11701 South La Cienega Boulevard, 6th Floor. This branch office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m, Monday through Friday. You will need photo identification that has your name printed on it exactly as it will appear on the marriage license, and you will need to bring a check or cash in the amount of $70.00. Photo ID such as a drivers license or passport is sufficient. If you would like to have a copy of your marriage certificate mailed to you that is an additional $15. The marriage certificate will be mailed to you from Los Angeles County in three to four weeks.
Robert Jacob, a registered minister and a newly-wedded man himself, has graciously agreed to legally marry any couple at the conference that has a valid marriage license. All you need to do is to bring your license and recording forms to the conference. If you would like to have Robert officiate your marriage, please contact him at www.affirmation.org/contact/robert so that he can work out the details with you. You may also call him at 323-851-0607. For those who do not know, Robert recently married Paul Mortensen, his partner of more than 30 years! For more information on obtaining a marriage license or other frequently asked questions, please visit the Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk website at www.lamarriage.lacounty.gov.
If you feel that marriage is right for you and your partner, please consider joining the thousands of other couples who are now marrying in California. We have waited far too long to have our loving, committed, relationships given the same protections and benefits that most straight couples take for granted.
Lambda Legal Defense Fund website
Map to the Airport Courthouse
Contact Robert Jacob
Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk website