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California high court rules same-sex marriage ban violates state constitution

[JURIST] The Supreme Court of California [official website] Thursday overturned [opinion, PDF] a state ban on same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive], ruling 4-3 in In re Marriage Cases [case materials] that the ban violated protections on the right to "form a family relationship" enshrined in the California Constitution [text]. Rights groups said that the decision could lead to California becoming the second state after Massachusetts [JURIST report] to legalize same-sex marriage, but religious and conservative organizations are currently pushing to include a measure on the November ballot to write a ban on gay marriage into the state constitution.

The lawsuits stemmed from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's 2004 decision to issue marriage licenses to 4,000 same-sex couples [JURIST report]. In 2006, the state attorney general requested [JURIST report] that the Court review an intermediate appellate court's decision to uphold [JURIST report] the same-sex marriage ban. AP has more. The San Francisco Chronicle has local coverage.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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