Flickr user JeffBelmonte / Creative Commons

Pssst. Wanna know a secret?

I’m going to let you in on confidential marriage, an only-in-California concoction that is little known but deeply relevant to today’s debates about marriage.

Confidential marriage is in most respects the same as any old legal marriage—solemnized and binding. But confidential marriage licenses, unlike the regular marriage licenses, are not part of the public record. And confidential marriage is limited to couples who are already living together (although no proof of cohabitation is required).