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California chief justice gay marriage

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The California Supreme Court, striking down two state laws that had limited marriages to unions between a man and a woman, ruled Thursday that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. The decision, which becomes effective in 30 days unless the court grants a stay, was greeted with celebrations at San Francisco City Hall, where thousands of same-sex marriages were thrown out by the courts four years ago. Given the historic, cultural, symbolic and constitutional significance of marriage, Chief Justice Ronald M. George wrote for the majority, the state cannot limit its availability to opposite-sex couples. Supporters of gay marriage said the ruling was a milestone. But opponents said they expected the proposed ballot initiative, which has been submitted to state election officials with more than one million signatures, to pass in November.

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