Marriage upgrade
April 20, 2013 3:39 PM   Subscribe

For reasons of being an international same-sex couple, we want to be as married as we possibly can get. For the same reasons, the legal status of our relationship is giving us a headache. What we are currently trying to figure out is, if we have a California certificate of registered domestic partnership but want to get a Massachusetts marriage license, do we have to get domestic-divorced before we can get Massachusetts-married?

Expanding on the above: I'm a Swedish citizen, she's a US citizen. We are both UK residents. We hold a 2012 California registered domestic partnership certificate. This isn't technically a marriage license, which might actually end up mattering a whole deal when it comes to planned future moves to other countries (especially if DOMA falls and the move is to the US).

Does anyone have the faintest idea of whether it is possible to get married in Massachusetts while holding the domestic partnership? Or would we need to dissolve the partnership to be eligible to marry in the state of Massachusetts? We know that if we were to move to Massachusetts, they would recognize our California partnership as a marriage, but the issue here is about getting an actual marriage license that has the word "marriage" on it. (Oh, and for reasons of wedding organization, we really do need it to be in Massachusetts, and not any of the other states that recognize same-sex marriage. ...probably. Depending on how complicated this gets.)

Any input at all would be much appreciated.
posted by harujion to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
All I can tell you is that my husband and I had a California registered domestic partnership and it made no difference whatsoever when we got properly married in California (in 2008 before prop-8). I can't see how it would be any different for Massachusetts, but IANL.
posted by Long Way To Go at 3:46 PM on April 20, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Can I get married if I have a comprehensive Domestic Partnership from California, Oregon, Washington or Nevada?
Persons who are registered as domestic partners with the State of California (under A.B. 205) or the State of Oregon (under the Oregon Family Fairness Act) or the State of Washington (under the Act Relating to Further Expanding the Rights and Responsibilities of State Registered Domestic Partners) or the State of Nevada (under an Act Relating to Domestic Relations. . .) are arguably subject to the principles discussed above for civil unions. Thus, if you intend to marry the same person with whom you are registered in a California, Oregon, Washington or Nevada domestic partnership, your legal status in California, Oregon, Washington or Nevada would not prevent you from marrying in Massachusetts. However, if you have a comprehensive domestic partnership with one person and wish to marry a different person, you should dissolve your domestic partnership first, even if a Massachusetts clerk may allow you to marry.

(from How to Get Married in Massachusetts, linked here)
posted by cider at 3:48 PM on April 20, 2013 [7 favorites]

Best answer: You can get married in MA no issues, and none of the above - your residency, your domestic partnership, your citizenship - is remotely of interest to the state of Massachusetts. If you split, you will need to file for a divorce and file a domestic partnership dissolution in California.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:49 PM on April 20, 2013 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: You guys are brilliant. That is exactly the information we needed, and failed to find elsewhere. Thank you so much for the great replies!
posted by harujion at 11:41 PM on April 20, 2013

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