The California Senate voted on Thursday to allow gay marriage, giving an initial legislative boost to one of the state's most contentious issues.

The Democrat-dominated Senate voted 21-15 in favor of making marriage in California "gender-neutral," thus open to couples of the same sex. All Senate Republicans and one Democrat opposed the measure.

The legislation now advances to the California Assembly, where legislators say the measure will have a more difficult time gaining enough votes for passage. The Assembly killed a gay marriage bill in June.

Calif. Senate votes to legalize gay marriage


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