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Mar. 15--A San Francisco judge on Monday broke new ground in California's legal conflict over same-sex marriage, finding the state's ban on gay unions unconstitutional and pushing the issue closer to a decisive showdown in the state Supreme Court.
If the ruling is upheld, it will force the nation's largest state to allow same-sex marriages. Superior Court Judge Richard Kramer concluded that California is violating the equal protection rights of gay couples by not allowing them to marry. The judge's 27-page decision rejected the state's arguments for maintaining a gay marriage ban, saying there was no justification for the current law.
"Simply put," Kramer wrote, "same-sex marriage cannot be prohibited solely because California has always done so before."
But there won't be legalized gay nuptials any time soon. The judge's ruling will not become final until later this month and then is expected to be stayed during the appeals process. …