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California high
court to review same-sex marriage case

California high
court to review same-sex marriage case

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The California supreme court unanimously agreed Wednesday to decide whether the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates a constitutional ban on discrimination, though an outcome is not likely until late next year.

The California supreme court unanimously agreed Wednesday to decide whether the state's ban on same-sex marriage violates a constitutional ban on discrimination, though an outcome is not likely until late next year. The justices are reviewing an October decision by the first district court of appeal, which ruled that California marriage laws do not discriminate because gay and lesbian couples can get most rights the state confers to married couples. Massachusetts is the only state that authorizes same-sex marriage. California offers domestic partnerships similar to civil unions in Vermont and Connecticut. San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom allowed gay and lesbian couples to wed at City Hall in 2004, but California's justices halted the ensuing wedding spree and voided 4,037 marriage licenses by ruling the mayor did not have authority to make marriage law. About 20 same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco sued the state, and the case has meandered through trial and appellate courts. Had the supreme court not taken the case, the lower court's decision would have stood. San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera said the city was "extremely gratified." "It's perhaps the major civil rights issue of our time," he said. A call to the office of Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer was not returned. A 1977 law and a 2000 voter-approved measure prohibit same-sex couples from marrying in California. (David Kravets, AP)

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