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California Legislature Approves Same-Sex Marriage

Lawmakers in California have adopted legislation approving same-sex marriage, with the State Assembly becoming the first U.S. legislative body to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.

The Religious Freedom and Civil Marriage Protection Act was approved late Tuesday by a 41-35 vote. The California Senate passed the measure last week.

It now goes to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has the authority to approve or veto the bill. His position on the bill is unclear.

The U.S. state of Massachusetts is currently the only state that has legalized same-sex marriage by order of the state's Supreme Court.

Connecticut and Vermont allow civil unions, which provide most of the same legal protections as marriage.

Supporters of same-sex marriage have compared the legislation to earlier civil rights campaigns in the country.

Opponents say it treads on the traditional institution of marriage.

Some information for this report provided by AP.