When Massachusetts passed their law providing for legal, same-sex marriages, they also made provisions to NOT grant marriage licenses to out-of-state couples who live in states that have laws or constitutional amendments that ban same-sex marriage.
A gay couple residing in a state with a DOMA (defense of marriage act) could go to Massachusetts to get "married" and be denied.
This "helps" prevent a state with a DOMA from being forced to recognize a gay union from another state.
California has no such residency requirement.
A gay couple can come to California to get a state issued marriage certificate and then go home (wherever home is). Hetero couples do it all the time. I was at a wedding last week in the Las Vegas area (Valley of Fire - wonderful location) - the couple resides in California.
California may be the "Nevada" of gay marriage.
Scenario...a lesbian couple drive from Wisconsin to California to "get married". Driving home, in Kansas, they are in a car accident. Does the hospital in Kansas (a state that prohibits gay marriage) have to recognize the "rights" of the spouse that have a legal marriage in California?
Scenario: Does a divorce court in Michigan (that grants divorces to couples married in other states) have to grant a divorce to a gay couple married in Massachusetts or California - thus lending legitimacy to that union (how can one dissolve something that one does not accept as existing in the first place?)
Attorneys general from Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah were so worried about potential legal complications they asked California to postpone marrying gay couples until after the November elections when voters will have a chance to overturn the court's ruling.