What legal and financial changes will same-sex couples face if they get married in California?
For couples who have registered as domestic partners with the secretary of state, almost none. "If they are already registered - and we're not talking about the emotional, social or political impact - getting married doesn't really make much difference," says San Francisco tax attorney Jean Johnston.
For same-sex couples who have not registered, a walk down the aisle - or the steps of city hall - will bring profound changes that should not be ignored in the rush to get hitched before California voters decide the future of gay marriage in November.
Since 2005, same-sex couples in California have been able to register as domestic partners with the state and thereby gain virtually all of the same rights and responsibilities as married couples under state law - but none of the rights or responsibilities of married couples under federal law.