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States brief ~ CA Senate passes bill legalizing same-sex marriage

[JURIST] Leading Thursday's states brief, the California Senate [official website] by a 21-15 vote approved legislation today that would legalize same-sex marriages. Bill sponsor Assemblyman Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, plans to bring the bill up in the state Assembly on Tuesday. Last June the Assembly narrowly rejected a same-sex marriage bill [text]. Commenting on the bill's passage, Senator Liz Figueroa, D-Sunol, said, "When I leave this Legislature, I want to be able to tell my grandchildren I stood up for dignity and rights for all." Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger [official profile] would not comment on whether he will sign the legislation if it passes the Assembly. State opponents of same-sex marriages are trying to qualify initiatives for the 2006 ballot that would place a constitutional ban on same-sex marriages [JURIST report]. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • A Wisconsin court of appeals Thursday upheld [ruling text] a jury's award of $24 million to a construction worker seriously injured in a building collapse by finding that the award was reasonable. The jury awarded the worker $8.8 million in compensatory damages, $15 million in punitive damages and his wife received $500,000 after finding Symons Corp. [corporate website] of Des Plaines, Ill., responsible for the accident. Symons argued that the punitive damages were excessive and that the compensatory damages should be reduced to $1.3 million. The appeals court disagreed, saying the awards were reasonable based on Symons's egregious conduct. AP has more.

  • The North Carolina House has failed to repeal a section of a new law [text] which requires court clerks to give domestic violence victims information about applying for a concealed weapons permit. Governor Mike Easley [official website] signed the law a few days ago, but urged the repeal of the section of the law requiring court clerks to give such information and worked with House leaders to have it repealed. Beth Froehling of the Coalition Against Domestic Violence said, "It appears the court might be encouraging them to do that [carry weapons]. That puts them in more danger." Rep. Mark Hilton, law sponsor, said, "Simple educational information is all we are asking for." The News and Observer has local coverage.

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