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Ca Senate Approves Bill Allowing Gay Marriage

Sacramento, CA — A victory for gay rights advocates today in the California Senate.

By a 21-to-15 vote, senators approved legislation that would legalize same-sex marriages in the nation´s most populous state. It´s the first legislative body in the country to do so.

The vote sets the stage for a showdown in the state Assembly, which rejected a gay marriage bill in June. One bill supporter, Democratic Senator Liz Figueroa, said the measure is about equal rights for all.

But Republican Dennis Hollingsworth argued that traditional marriage should be protected. The bill´s author, Assemblyman Mark Leno of San Francisco, now gets another chance to send the bill to the governor.

A spokeswoman says Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger won´t comment on whether he would sign the bill if it reaches his desk. The vote came as a state court is considering appeals of a San Francisco judge´s ruling that overturned California laws banning recognition of gay marriages.

At the same time, opponents of same-sex marriage are trying to qualify initiatives for next year´s ballot that would place a ban on gay marriages in the state Constitution.