The California Senate voted Thursday to allow gay couples to wed, becoming the first legislative body in the nation to approve same-sex marriage without a court order.
The bill would recast the state’s legal definition of marriage as a union between two people rather than one between a man and a woman.
Yet it faces an uncertain future: The California Assembly narrowly rejected similar legislation in June, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) has given mixed or ambiguous responses on whether he would support or veto such a bill.
Still, its passage, on a vote of 21 to 15, was hailed by advocates as a breakthrough for gay rights.