The Fontana Unified School District board is not generally a hot bed of controversy, but it is the focus of a novel controversy after member Leticia Garcia revealed that she has a “confidential marriage” to a convicted murderer who was recently released. The existence of such confidential marriages is a surprise to most citizens, but not as much as the existence of a former convict husband for a recently elected board member who reportedly had said she was divorced.
There is certainly good reason to criticize an elected official who lies about any fact. She could have simply refused to discuss her marital status but according to some reports, she lied. However, she did not lie on any government form and this fact is entirely removed from any qualification from office. Moreover, it should not matter that she is married to an ex-con. Board members should be entitled to their private lives — an issue that we have repeatedly addressed with regard to teachers.
The state allows for confidential marriages, which allows couples to keep their marital status secret from everyone but the state. It is a curious provision. It is designed to keep confidential information on a marriage license from being made public. In California with a large number of celebrities, such protection is important. The form in Marin County specifically states “A confidential marriage license is not a public record. You may want a confidential marriage license if you are a celebrity, work in law enforcement or have another confidentiality issue. You will be asked to swear (or affirm) that the information you have provided is true and correct, that you are currently unmarried, that you have been living together, and that there is no legal objection to the marriage.” The form is below.
Other board members called on Leticia Garcia to step aside until the District Attorney’s Office Public Integrity Unit can investigate her.
Garcia, however, insists that her marriage to Jason Garcia is legal and not relevant to her office. She was elected to her four-year term on the board in November.