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***Love is in the air ***  Gay marriage finally validated in California  In a monumental victory for the gay rights movement, order cheap protonix the California Supreme Court overturned a voter-approved ban on gay marriage Thursday in a ruling that would allow same-sex couples in the nation's biggest state to tie the knot. Domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage, order cheap protonix the justices ruled 4-3 in striking down the ban. Outside the courthouse, order cheap protonix gay marriage supporters cried and cheered as the news spread. Jeanie Rizzo, order cheap protonix one of the plaintiffs, order cheap protonix called Pali Cooper, order cheap protonix her partner of 19 years, order cheap protonix and asked, order cheap protonix "Pali, order cheap protonix will you marry me?" "This is a very historic day. Order cheap protonix This is just such freedom for us, order cheap protonix" Rizzo said. Order cheap protonix "This is a message that says all of us are entitled to human dignity." In the Castro, order cheap protonix historically a center of the gay community in San Francisco, order cheap protonix Tim Oviatt started crying while watching the news on TV. "I've been waiting for this all my life, order cheap protonix" he said. Order cheap protonix "This is a life-affirming moment." The city of San Francisco, order cheap protonix two dozen gay and lesbian couples and gay rights groups sued in March 2004 after the court halted the monthlong wedding march that took place when Mayor Gavin Newsom opened the doors of City Hall to same-sex marriages. "Today the California Supreme Court took a giant leap to ensure that everybody — not just in the state of California, order cheap protonix but throughout the country — will have equal treatment under the law, order cheap protonix" said City Attorney Dennis Herrera, order cheap protonix who argued the case for San Francisco. The challenge for gay rights advocates, order cheap protonix however, order cheap protonix is not over. A coalition of religious and social conservative groups is attempting to put a measure on the November ballot that would enshrine laws banning gay marriage in the state constitution. The Secretary of State is expected to rule by the end of June whether the sponsors gathered enough signatures to qualify the marriage amendment, order cheap protonix similar to ones enacted in 26 other states. If voters pass the measure in November, order cheap protonix it would trump the court's decision. California already offers same-sex couples who register as domestic partners the same legal rights and responsibilities as married spouses, order cheap protonix including the right to divorce and to sue for child support. But, order cheap protonix "Our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation, order cheap protonix" Chief Justice Ron George wrote for the court's majority, order cheap protonix which also included Justices Joyce Kennard, order cheap protonix Kathryn Werdegar and Carlos Moreno. In a dissenting opinion, order cheap protonix Justice Marvin Baxter agreed with many arguments of the majority but said the court overstepped its authority. Order cheap protonix Changes to marriage laws should be decided by the voters, order cheap protonix Baxter wrote. Order cheap protonix Justices Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan also dissented. The conservative Alliance Defense Fund says it plans to ask the justices for a stay of their decision until after the fall election, order cheap protonix said Glen Lavey, order cheap protonix senior counsel for the group. Gov. Order cheap protonix Arnold Schwarzenegger, order cheap protonix who has twice vetoed legislation that would've granted marriage rights to same-sex couples, order cheap protonix said in a news release that he respected the court's decision and "will not support an amendment to the constitution that would overturn this state Supreme Court ruling." The last time California voters were asked to express their views on gay marriage at the ballot box was in 2000, order cheap protonix the year after the Legislature enacted the first of a series of laws awarding spousal rights to domestic partners. Proposition 22, order cheap protonix which strengthened the state's 1978 one-man, order cheap protonix one-woman marriage law with the words "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California, order cheap protonix" passed with 61 percent of the vote. The Supreme Court struck down both statutes with its sweeping opinion Thursday. Lawyers for the gay couples had asked the court to overturn the laws as an unconstitutional civil rights violation that domestic partnerships cannot repair. Order cheap protonix A trial court judge in San Francisco agreed with gay rights advocates and voided the state's marriage laws in April 2005. Order cheap protonix A midlevel appeals court overturned his decision in October 2006. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2008/05/14/state/n111151D62.DTL