Senate Bill 54, which will be effective on January 1, 2010, requires California to recognize and validate same-sex marriages performed out of state before November 5, 2008. Same-sex couples who married out of state on or after November 5, 2008, will receive all the rights, benefits, and responsibilities of marriage equal to traditional marriages. The law also recognizes same-sex marriages performed in California between June 16 and November 5, 2008. This period of time represents when the state Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in California and before Proposition 8 was passed by majority vote defining marriage as between only a man and a woman.

The law carries many implications for employers regarding employees' healthcare plans and other employment benefits. California employers should also refer to this law in connection with handling family leave requests.