OpinionIndustry News

Same-sex marriages create title, property rights issues

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When San Francisco decided to issue marriage licenses to same-gender couples, I became curious about the legal implications for the real estate and mortgage industries. After conferring with folks at the legal departments of title companies, I think this is a capsule of their position: Since these licenses are, on the surface, invalid under state law, they will not vest the property as community property. They will go along with the instructions from the buyers as to the language of the vesting, except they will not vest as community property. The title policies will recite the language of the vesting verbatim. This practice, I think, distances the title industry from taking any position as to the validity of the vesting. Title insurance companies aren't trying to take a social position on this matter. They are stating that they are bound ultimately by state law and that state law declares these licenses to not be valid. If subsequent rulings from courts invalidate the state law p...