The California Legislature on Tuesday became the first legislative body in the U.S. to allow same-sex marriages, as gay-rights advocates overcame two earlier defeats in the Assembly.
The 41-35 vote sends the bill to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.
The bill's supporters compared the legislation to earlier civil rights campaigns, including efforts to eradicate slavery and give women the right to vote.
"Do what we know is in our hearts," said the bill's sponsor, San Francisco Democrat Mark Leno. "Make sure all California families will have the same protection under the law," the AP.
"I think it's a sad day," Republican Assemblywoman Sharon Runner of Lancaster, California, said of the bill's passage.
"I think the people of California want us to do the business of jobs, the economy, education, illegal immigration, and today we had to spend several hours talking about an issue that the voters decided back five years ago, that marriage should be between a man and a woman ... I think it shows how out of touch the legislature is."
Massachusetts in 2004 became the first U.S. state to allow gay marriage, in response to a ruling by the state's Supreme Court. Massachusetts lawmakers are to vote next week on a proposed amendment to ban same-sex marriage, but the proposal is not expected to succeed, informs Washington Post.