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By Chris Soukoulis | Agent in Discovery Bay, CA
  • No spray for the aquaticweeds this year in Discovery Bay

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Discovery Bay, Home Selling in Discovery Bay, In My Neighborhood in Discovery Bay  |  June 12, 2014 5:42 PM  |  119 views  |  No comments

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    untitled No spray for the aquaticweeds this year in Discovery Bay
    Deepwater property owners and boaters in Discovery Bay will have to deal with the infamous Delta waterweeds on their own this season: the California State Parks Division of Boating and Waterways has announced they will not be spraying the aquatic weeds this year.

    “At this manageable, controlled level, (the weed) is not considered a hindrance to navigable waterways,” said Gloria Sandoval, public information officer with the Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW).

    “The levels needed for spraying are the same across the board. If the same levels of Egeria densa were found in other areas, we wouldn’t spray there.”

    According to Sandoval, the infestation levels of Egeria densa have been significantly reduced over the last three years thanks to the herbicide treatments. But even so, there are other aquatic pests clogging the Delta waterways.

    Jeff Conway, district manager for Reclamation District 800, said the plant causing the current obstructions is not the usual water hyacinths or Egeria densa.

    “The plant out there causing 70 percent of the impaction is the curly-leaf pondweed,” said Conway. “The Egeria densa only accounts for about 20 percent of the problem – not a high enough percentage to allow (the division) to spray for it, and unfortunately they have no permit to spray for the pondweed.”

    Curly-leaf pondweed, or Potamogeton crispus, is a submersed aquatic plant that is not native to North America. It can be distinguished from other pondweeds by its unique life cycle.

    “The pondweed is an early grower, usually has a mid-summer die-off and goes to seed by the end of the summer,” said Conway. “So it might die off during the next month or so, leaving room for the Egeria densa to take over.”

    However, even if the pondweed dies off soon, there will not be enough time for the DBW to spray for the other aquatic weeds.

    “Fluridone, the herbicide treatment used to control aquatic weeds comes in pellet form, and needs at least 30 days of contact with the water to be effective,” said Conway. “That would not be a long enough window to have an impact on the Egeria densa if it started to become a problem on its own.”

    Local residents and officials hope the growth of the aquatic weeds this season won’t undo the previous year’s efforts to keep the weeds under control.

    “We are disappointed that the Department of Boating and Waterways is not going to continue efforts to maintain the program of weed eradication through the application of fluridone in our area this year since we’re already seeing bays where boats cannot get in and out.” said Rick Howard, Discovery Bay general manager. “Over the last three years, the state has spent time and money on this program, and we fear that without at least a minimum level of maintenance, our waterways will be significantly impacted in the near future.”

    Despite what could be a challenging weed season, there are steps residents can take to keep the problem under control.

    “People can pull these weeds out by hand, let them air dry, then place them in green waste for pickup, or call us to set up drop off of the vegetation. It’s especially helpful to get the curly-leaf pondweed before it goes to seed at the end of the summer,” said Conway. “You should also be careful when handling the Egeria densa, as any pieces that break off in the water will simply regrow.”

    For more information regarding Reclamation District 800’s aquatic weed dumpsite, visit http://rd800.org or call 925-634-2351

  • Discovery Bay honored as District of Distinction

    Posted Under: Quality of Life in Discovery Bay, Home Buying in Discovery Bay, Home Selling in Discovery Bay  |  June 6, 2014 11:18 AM  |  157 views  |  No comments

    For the first time in the town’s history, the Discovery Bay Community Services District (DBCSD) has been named a “District of Distinction” – honored for its sound fiscal management and best practices – by the Special District Leadership Foundation (SDLF).

    “It basically says ‘good governance,’” said Town General Manager Rick Howard, who spent the past year putting together the necessary paperwork for consideration. “By achieving this designation, it is really validating the way the district conducts business.”

    The accreditation, awarded biannually by the SPDLF, is a statewide designation, which to date has been given to only 20 of California’s 2,300 independent special districts. 

    Through a rigorous submittal process, candidates for the District of Distinction must show proof of, among other items, educational training in public governance, compliance with ethics, harassment prevention and conflict of interest training. Candidates must also show that the district’s website includes posting of transparency requirements, such as election procedures and deadlines, board meeting schedules and agendas, current district budgets, most recent financial audit information and a list of compensation for board members and staff. 

    “SDLF provides an independent audit review of the last three years of the district’s operations to ensure prudent fiscal and operation practices,” said SDLF Administrator Neil McCormick. 

    The audits are conducted by volunteers from the special district community, including district controllers, directors of finance and general managers.

    “The Town of Discovery Bay has worked hard and is proud to be recognized,” said CSD President Mark Simon. “It’s nice to know that the procedures we have implemented and the fiscal management policies that have been adopted fully comply with industry best practices.”

    The SDLF is an independent, nonprofit organization formed to promote good governance and practices among California’s special districts. A special district is a form of local government created by communities that are not incorporated cities and are in need of certain services that their current tax base may not provide. 

    The majority of California’s special districts perform a single function such as water, sewage, fire protection or cemetery management, according to the California Special Districts Association website. Communities that require two or more services, such as Discovery Bay, are known as a community services district (CSD). Discovery Bay’s CSD takes care of the town’s water, sewer, landscaping and recreation needs. 

    Howard, who has been the town’s general manager since 2010, said receiving the District of Distinction honor is gratifying, but he believes the message the accolades send is even more rewarding. 

    “We know we’ve been doing a good job, and this just validates that those in other districts think so, too,” Howard said. “It tells us that we are doing our jobs, and we’re doing them very well.”

  • Stay Put and Remodel — or Move?

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Discovery Bay, Home Selling in Discovery Bay, Curb Appeal in Discovery Bay  |  February 18, 2014 3:30 PM  |  542 views  |  No comments

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    images Stay Put and Remodel — or Move?
    A New Year ushers in new resolutions, which often includes changes on the home front, but deciding what to do with it can be tough for home owners, financially and emotionally.

    As the real estate market rebounds and buyers increase in number, help your contacts make a well-informed decision on the direction they should take with their home. Your insight is valuable when customers are torn between selling in order to upgrade and remodeling their current space to add value and meet their needs. Even those who don’t list and sell with you now may do so later, and even refer friends and family because of your attentive service.

    Here are seven key steps to help clients arrive at the best solution:

    1. Ask home owners to share what bothers them most about their home, such as the traffic pattern, lack of a certain room, or absence of light.

    Help clients analyze how they use their house and determine what features are missing that they want. Changes can often be made within an existing footprint, even without adding square footage. Walls can be taken down, doors removed or changed, and windows enlarged. Home owners who have been in their house for years are often only using certain rooms because of a pattern they established early on.

    “Many fail to use 30 to 40 percent of their space,” says contractor Randy Tapper of RHT Design and Construction in Deerfield, Ill. He tries to guide clients toward changing their layout, so they use all spaces, before he suggests adding. Architect Duo Dickinson, author of Staying Put: Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want (Taunton Press, 2011) concurs, and says removing walls and adding openings rather than increasing the home’s footprint can tackle a great percentage of challenges.

    2. Help home owners study how their house is sited.

    Discuss together the land your clients’ house sits on — both the topography and condition — as well as how it’s oriented toward views. If the site always leaks ground water, has absolutely no trees (or terrible ones), or includes hideous views, then remodeling likely won’t fix your clients’ issues, Dickinson says, and selling becomes a more viable option.

    3. Ask clients to talk about their neighborhood.

    If they’re very attached to their neighborhood, including the area’s retail, schools, and, perhaps, proximity to major thoroughfares, it may be worthwhile for your clients to “build their way out of their home or site’s challenges — and stay put,” says Dickinson.

    Sometimes, pleasant memories, such as where they raised their children or watched a daughter marry in the backyard, may outweigh the option of moving.

    4. Remind clients to factor in their time frame and family needs.

    If your clients plan to be in their house a long time — at least five to 10 years — making significant changes, such as adding rooms, building a sunroom, or finishing a basement, may provide a worthwhile payback and incentive. If, however, they’re empty nesters and ready to downsize, then remodeling may not be the most prudent financial decision. Here’s where a good financial planner can help them assess their home’s value in relationship to the rest of their assets and needs; a mortgage lender also should be tapped to discuss the costs of a new mortgage, if they need one.

    But, exceptions abound, even for empty nesters. Some may decide to stay put. If their children and grandchildren visit regularly, they may decide that remodeling, or even adding on, will be the magic bullet for them to enjoy their home for years into the future.

    5. Suggest that clients consult contractors, designers, architects, or structural engineers, and get multiple bids, for a realistic estimate of what changes might cost.

    It’s worth paying professionals for an hour of their time; some will even provide it gratis, says Dickinson. These professionals can look at a home owners’ current house, listen to what they want, appraise its condition –—including what an untrained eye may not see — and estimate costs of new work.

    In addition, if the house was built more than 30 years ago and hasn’t been updated, it may require new wiring or plumbing, a new HVAC system or roof, and better insulation. A new survey may also be worthwhile depending on what changes might take place, especially if it’s dated.

    6. Compare the appraisal and remodeling costs with other neighborhood homes for future resale.

    Even though home owners should base decisions in large measure on enjoyment and not wholly on resale value, it’s smart to have an idea of how changes will affect the house compared with others nearby, says real estate attorney and Brooklyn Law School Professor David Reiss.

    It’s never smart to overbuild for an area. The type of improvement can also affect the value. Remodeling changes may add to the house’s worth without changing real estate taxes, while an addition will probably cause an uptick in taxes.

    Help home owners by showing recent comps for homes of a similar size and quality and in a similar area, says Dickinson.

    7. Seeing is believing: Besides showing clients comps, take home owners to see what’s available in their price range in neighborhoods they like.

    A new house may offer a better layout, the right number of bedrooms and bathrooms, an updated kitchen, or a nice yard. But clients should also remind clients that even the home they buy may need some remodeling tweaks, like new paint, carpet, or an overhaul of an outdated master bathroom. Help your home owners factor in the cost and time of these changes as they weigh their final decision.

    Here, too, it might prove worthwhile to bring in a contractor or architect to estimate costs of any big changes such as new insulation, removing some walls, or finishing the basement.

    Dara Shlifka and her husband Aric went through these paces when they decided they needed additional space for a home office in their 1968, Colonial-style, 2,400-square-foot suburban Chicago home. Initially, they were convinced they’d move, since remodeling and bids for additions came in sky-high — $250,000 and above. They house-hunted in a broad price range, from $400,000 up to $800,000, Dara says. But before they found a house, they asked one more contractor for ideas. He suggested converting their living room to an office and building a 600-square-foot addition with a bigger kitchen and a new family room, powder room, and laundry and mud rooms, and his bid came in at only $120,000, which convinced them to stay. “We’re almost done, but already I feel I’m living in a different house,” she says.

    Bottom line: Advise home owners to make this big decision carefully based on all of the facts. In the end, they’ll be happier, and happy clients are your greatest asset.

  • Pantages project plugging along

    Posted Under: General Area in Discovery Bay, Home Buying in Discovery Bay, Home Selling in Discovery Bay  |  January 16, 2014 2:13 PM  |  469 views  |  No comments

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    Pantages Pantages project plugging along

    It’s a project that has been years in the making and with a road still left to travel, but Discovery Bay’s Pantages project recently jumped another hurdle with the recent passage of the housing development by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors.

    “It’s great news, and we’re pleased with the results,” said Mark Armstrong, vice president of Pantages of Discovery Bay. “We’re on the positive path forward.”

    The Pantages project, located at the end of Timber Point between Kellogg Creek and the Lakeshore development, will be a gated community of 292-single family homes on 172 acres including 115 deep-water lots.

    Armstrong believes the arrival of the project will cement and bridge the gap between original Discovery Bay and the more recent arrival of homes in Discovery Bay west.

    On the drawing board for more than six years, recent progress on the project is viewed by many as a sign that the economy is growing and the housing market is strengthening.

    Discovery Bay General Manager Rick Howard sees it that way, too, and looks forward to the benefits Pantages will bring to town.

    “It’s a project that will be a nice asset to the community,” said Howard, “and one of the biggest benefits is that it will widen portions of Kellogg Creek and that is something we are really looking forward to. It’s a good project; it’s very well laid out.”

    Although there is still further permitting necessary before construction can begin – Armstrong estimates at least another two years – it’s clear from all standpoints that the arrival of the new homes is a good thing.

    “We still have the annexation into the CSD (Community Services District) and Rec 800 to deal with,” said Armstrong. “But we’re very pleased with the support we have received from the board of supervisors and the community. It’s all coming together.”

  • The tug of war for the Delta

    Posted Under: General Area in Discovery Bay, Home Buying in Discovery Bay, Home Selling in Discovery Bay  |  November 1, 2013 8:41 AM  |  401 views  |  No comments

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    delta The tug of war for the Delta
    Throughout California’s history, the reservoirs and water resources generated by the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta have been the lifeblood of the state’s economy – the largest in the country and a global leader in innovation. Without the aquatic transfers that move throughout the state, agricultural operations as far south as San Diego would be left to wither under inhospitable conditions. No matter the region or city, the Delta is arguably the common denominator that connects northern and southern California.

    Today, as the state continues to grapple with its myriad challenges, a new chapter is being written in the halls of Sacramento and Washington D.C. Under the radar of the public eye these past few years, a proposal known as the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP) is gaining steam, and with it comes concern as its potential for environmental destruction and rising costs tumble out into the open.

    Supported by Gov. Jerry Brown as a way to unclog some of the knots in state water systems, create jobs and restore endangered ecosystems, the BDCP includes two large tunnels – built under the Delta – which would siphon water from the East Bay to parched communities in Southern California. Designed to be more than 35 miles long and nearly 40 feet wide, the funding required to build the twin tunnels and their potential ensuing impact recently prompted several Northern California congress representatives to write a letter to Sally Jewell, secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. Led by Representative John Garamendi of California’s 3rd congressional district, they distanced themselves from Brown’s initiative, sought clarification on how much federal funding would be involved and expressed fears that environmental ramifications are being sidelined.

    Remarking on the discussion they sought with the agency, Representative Mike Thompson (CA-5) stated in a Sept. 26 press release that “we need to closely examine every dollar we spend” and that he is not convinced, at least for the time being, by the notion that the BDCP will meet California’s water needs or help with wildlife conservation. Other prominent voices included representatives Congressmen Jerry McNerney (CA-9) and George Miller (CA-11). McNerney went so far as to say “we already know that Governor Brown’s proposed plan for the Delta will devastate the region and is not based on sound science.”

    Representative Ami Bera (CA-7) also had some strong points to make. “I’ve consistently been concerned about the rush to implement the Bay Delta Conservation Plan before we look at all of our alternatives,” he said in the same press release. “Water is critical to California, and we must find a comprehensive, long-term solution that is based on sound science and doesn’t put south-of-Delta interests ahead of everyone in or north-of-Delta. In addition to those concerns, we must also understand how we’ll pay for any plan before committing to it.”

    Some of their constituents, meanwhile, are starting to do a little digging on their own.

    “I don’t know all the details,” said East County resident Erin Johnson. “But I do know that those who do should have to explain it to a sharper point before slipping the point between the shoulder blades of those at project ground zero.” Johnson, who describes himself as a political activist, is particularly concerned about eminent domain – the power by state authorities to take private property away from individuals for public use – and wants more questions answered before giving his support to any new construction. “Measure twice, cut once,” he said.

    Brentwood resident Mason Matthews is a student currently enrolled at UC Santa Barbara. With his home back in Northern California and his current residence down south, Matthews is working to balance his love for the environment with his desire to see California modernize and advance its infrastructure.

    “California has a long history of conflict regarding water rights,” he said. “What we are experiencing is an ideological battle between conservationists and preservationists. Supporters will point out the potential benefits to the greater good by having a steady water supply pumping from the Delta, whereas opponents may argue that the Delta has already been overly developed and polluted.” Matthews said his biggest concern is safety, but like Johnson, is also concerned about the residents and farmers who could end up losing property when construction begins.

    “A lot of farmers in the Owens Valley were not rightly compensated when the Los Angeles Aqueduct was constructed (in the early 20th Century),” said Matthews. “That could very well happen to farmers in our communities who use the Delta water to irrigate our local agriculture.”

    For their part, proponents of the BDCP acknowledge the Delta is at a critical juncture, but contend that the tunnels offer a necessary man-made solution to a man-made problem.

    “The BDCP is a habitat conservation plan under the U.S. Endangered Species Acts and California Natural Community Conservation Planning Act,” said Nancy Vogel, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Water Resources. “As such, the plan attempts to help lead to the recovery of a wide range of species over a 50-year period … The federal and state governments have a responsibility to lead the effort to sustain the Delta, and we’re trying, through the BDCP, to take a more comprehensive and collaborative approach.”

    Vogel said that 68 percent of the estimated $18.9 billion costs would be paid for by the public water agencies and irrigation districts that depend upon deliveries of water from the Delta. Taxpayers, meanwhile, will be expected to pay roughly $2.9 billion of the habitat restoration costs through general obligation bonds passed out over the 50-year life of the plan.

    “Few parts of California can claim to be disconnected from the Delta,” she said. “Forty percent of the state’s land area drains to the Delta. Those parts of California that don’t drain to the Delta tend to depend upon water pumped from the Delta.”

    However, even with environmental assurances, promises of new jobs and an array of studies, reactions from the public and their representatives make it clear that proponents of the BDCP face an uphill battle.

    In the meantime, as protest movements continue to grow and political groups pit themselves against each other, the real focus of the fight – California’s water needs – continue to loom large for the prospects of the region and the future of the state.

    For additional information on the BDCP, the Delta tunnels and organizations in support and opposed to the plan, log onto the following links: www.nodeltatunnels.com, www.friendsoftheriver.org and www.restorethedelta.org

  • Housing projects revving back up

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Discovery Bay, Home Selling in Discovery Bay, In My Neighborhood in Discovery Bay  |  October 11, 2013 11:10 AM  |  320 views  |  No comments

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    untitled Housing projects revving back up

    The Community Services District entered into a reimbursement agreement this week with two residential developers looking to build over 300 homes in Discovery Bay with possible sticks in the ground as soon as next year.

    The agreement, unanimously approved by the town board this week, sets in motion the first of several steps the CSD must take in advance of the developer’s annexation and eventual acceptance into Discovery Bay. Simply put, the agreement gives the town a voice regarding concerns and conditions prior to final approval from the county.

    “Because they (projects) lie outside of our boundaries … and since we don’t have land use authority or much of a say, this provides the district with the ability to voice concerns prior to annexation,” said Discovery Bay General Manager Rick Howard during the Oct. 2 meeting. “Once LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commission) approves it our hands are tied.”

    Up for discussion are two long-term projects: Pantages Bays, a 252 single-family home community with 115 deep-water lots located on 172 acres at the end of Point of Timber between Kellogg Creek and the Lakeshore development, and Newport Pointe, located off of Newport Road, a 67 home, single-family home development that has been on the drawing board for over six years. Both Pantages and Newport Pointe developers agree to pay an advance deposit of $7,500 each to pay for the town’s costs pre-annexation such as attorney fees and engineering.

    However, because this is a community deeply divided between residents in favor of controlled growth and those who are opposed, the impending arrival of new homes is viewed by some to be a double-edge sword.

    But not by CSD President Mark Simon.

    “As far as Pantages goes, from my personal point of view I am very much in favor of it because it brings something to Discovery Bay,” said Simon. “They will widen Kellogg Creek and they have made it a condition of development that they will bring in a new Marine Patrol dock which will put them closer to fast water.

    “But I am absolutely 100 percent against Newport Pointe. Newport Road is already overcrowded and it (Newport Pointe) will change our traffic, take away our already strapped fire fighting services. It brings nothing to Discovery Bay and will take what we have and shrink it. If it were up to me I would refuse them Will Serve (water and wastewater hook ups) and let them sue us.”

    Bill Schrader, who’s Austin Group, LLC is developing the Newport Pointe community, disagrees with Simon’s contention.

    “I don’t think this is a controversial project at all,” said Schrader. “We are paying a pretty substantial amount of money in parks and recreation fees. We originally were going to put in a dog park but the CSD decided to take the money instead (approximately $400,000 to be paid to the town when building begins). I think it’s a good project and I think the time is right to build.”

  • Same-Sex Marriage Ruling: What it Means for Real Estate

    Posted Under: Home Buying in Discovery Bay, Home Selling in Discovery Bay, Property Q&A in Discovery Bay  |  August 29, 2013 2:29 PM  |  504 views  |  No comments

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    untitled2 Same Sex Marriage Ruling: What it Means for Real Estate

    While property rights are generally a state issue, the federal recognition of marriage for gay couples will have a significant impact on home owners.

    Married same-sex couples in 13 states and the District of Columbia are now or will soon be eligible for more than 1,100 federal benefits and protections denied under the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act. A key provision of the federal law, which withheld benefits from gay couples who had been lawfully married in those states that permit it, was struck down last week by the Supreme Court. And though property rights are set at the state level, the ruling has bearing on a number of real estate–related matters that involve federal law.

    The ruling may influence how couples decide to hold title on a property. It will affect the calculation of estate taxes owed when a spouse dies and how much capital gain is exempt from taxes in the sale of a home that is owned in the name of only one member of the couple.

    For real estate practitioners, “understanding the status of [your clients’] relationship is critical if you are in a jurisdiction that recognizes marriage” for gay couples, says Los Angeles attorney Wendy E. Hartmann, who specializes in tax and estate planning for same-sex couples. Practitioners should, however, encourage couples to obtain legal advice on such title and tax matters from an attorney, she noted.

    Before the court decision, gay couples did not have the option to hold title through “tenancy by the entirety,” which is available only to legally married home owners. Like joint tenancy, this form of ownership means each spouse owns 100 percent of the property and an equal right to possess the home, and provides that when one spouse dies, the surviving spouse automatically becomes the property’s sole owner. Unlike joint tenancy, however, under tenancy by the entirety the home is more fully protected from creditors.

    Hartmann cautions that before spouses rush to change the form of title through which a home is owned, it’s important for them to consider that when a home is sold, the $500,000 capital gains exemption will be available to gay married couples when they file federal taxes jointly, even if the deed remains only in one spouse’s name.

    “There may be good reasons that a spouse who owned a property at the start of a relationship may not wish to add his or her spouse to the deed. But under the ruling, they are still eligible for the $500,000 exclusion if they file their federal taxes jointly,” she says.

    Under the federal tax code’s “unlimited marital deduction,” which addresses the transfer of property to the surviving spouse when one spouse dies or when a marriage is dissolved, married gay couples will see a significant effect because those transfers will “no longer trigger a gift tax consequence,” Hartmann says. By comparison, couples who live in states where their relationships are recognized as civil unions or domestic partnerships—but not marriage—are not afforded that benefit.

    While the dismantling of DOMA provides clear-cut benefits for married gay couples who reside in the states they were married in, it creates significant ambiguities in other situations. For example, the immediate future is murky for partners who were legally married in one state but move to a state that does not recognize their union. For now, these people are caught in a confusing tangle of laws.

    In Minnesota, where marriage for same-sex couples will become legal on August 1, the Minneapolis Association of REALTORS® is eagerly anticipating the near simultaneous federal recognition. “The laws that are based on marriage will now be fully applied to people the same way whether they are part of a same-sex couple or a heterosexual couple, “ says MAR public affairs director Julia Parenteau. She has identified 110 Minnesota statutes that explicitly apply to marital status and housing. Before now, “we’ve been telling members that if they’ve been selling property to same-sex couples and addressing their issues the same way as they do straight couples, they’re doing it wrong,” says Parenteau. “Now that the federal law will come into play, this will makes the lives of agents a whole lot easier in that they don’t have to worry about more than 100 laws” that take into account marital status.

    The DOMA ruling is also expected to increase the pressure on states where marriage equality has been on the legislative agenda but has not yet been approved, including Illinois, New Jersey, and Hawaii. “The inequality among the states will become more visible and obvious when some people can claim federal benefits and others cannot,” says Jennifer Pizer, director of the Law and Policy Project at Lambda Legal, a nonprofit organization working for the civil rights of lesbians and gays. “Equal treatment would be in their grasp except for the discriminatory state laws that keep it from occurring.”

    And with the federal government obligated to make federal marriage-based benefits available, Hartmann notes, states that don’t offer the right to marry could see an exodus of gay people, while “states where marriage is available [for gays] could see an influx in their population.”

    The Supreme Court last week also cleared the way for the reinstatement of marriage rights for gay couples in California, ruling that the supporters of Proposition 8, the ballot measure that invalidated same-sex marriage in the state, did not have legal standing to appeal a ruling holding Proposition 8 unconstitutional. When California residents are added to the mix, according to Lambda, approximately 30 percent of Americans will live in states permitting same-sex marriage.

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