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California same-sex marriages begin as court ruling takes effect

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of California [official website] ruling [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] which overturned a state ban on same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive] took effect Monday, allowing same-sex marriage ceremonies in the state to go ahead. The Court's decision has so far withstood challenges from both in-state conservative groups and out-of-state attorneys general [JURIST reports] who object to the ruling because it also allows couples from others states to be married while in California. The ruling may still be overturned, however, as opponents have successfully petitioned [JURIST report] to place a proposed state constitutional amendment [ballot material, PDF; proposition website] banning same-sex marriages added to the November ballot. The first marriage licenses for same-sex couples, restyled with sex-neutral language [document, PDF; JURIST report], were issued Tuesday. The Los Angeles Times has local coverage.

California and Massachusetts [JURIST news report] are the only two US states to formally recognize same sex marriages, but unlike Massachusetts, California does not impose residency restrictions. Several other states permit same-sex civil unions [JURIST news archive], and in May New York Governor David Paterson ordered [memo, PDF; JURIST report] that state agencies recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages as legal marriages in New York. Many states have banned same-sex unions through statutes or amendments.

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