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Same-Sex  Marriages Performed in California


Thousands of gay couples are expected to wed in California in the coming weeks now that same-sex marriage is legal in the state.

Officials in California began performing same-sex marriages Monday evening local time as the state became the second in the United States to recognize same-sex marriages.

Gay couples waited in long lines for marriage licenses and to exchange vows Tuesday, the first full day same-sex marriages were legal in California. Hundreds of couples are expected to be married today throughout the western state.

In a four-to-three decision in May, the California Supreme Court ruled against a voter-approved law that restricted marriage to a man and a woman. The court said the state constitution's guarantee of equal rights gives same-sex couples the right to marry.

Californians will have a chance to overturn the court ruling in November when they vote on a proposed constitutional amendment to limit marriage to a man and a woman.

Twenty-seven U.S. states have amended their constitutions to limit marriage to a union between a man and a woman.

California voters passed a ban on gay marriages in 2000 with 61 percent of the vote. A recent survey shows a slight majority of Californians now support the right to same-sex marriage.

Massachusetts is the only other U.S. state to allow gay marriage.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters and AP.