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Gay marriage numbers rise in SLO County

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As a vote on Proposition 8 looms—which would amend the California Constitution to define marriage as being between a man and a woman—SLO County has witnessed a recent increase in the number of same-sex marriages performed.

Since the California Supreme Court began allowing same-sex unions on June 17, an estimated 11,000 same-sex marriages have been performed in the state of California, according to a study performed by UCLA’s Williams Institute.

The 11,000 same-sex marriages performed in California since June 17 outnumbers such marriages performed in Massachusetts since May 2004, when those unions first became legal in that state.

Of the 11,000 same-sex marriages in California, approximately 133 were performed in SLO County between June 17 and Oct. 22, accounting for roughly 1 percent of same-sex marriages performed in the state.

Forty-four of those marriages occurred in the second two weeks of June—with eight being performed on June 17—suggesting an initial surge once the California Supreme Court began permitting them. Numbers tapered off a bit in July but have since risen steadily.

Exact numbers for most of California are unavailable, as marriage licenses do not require information regarding gender. Additionally, marriage licenses refer to both individuals involved as “Party A” and “Party B”.

Officials for the SLO County Clerk-Recorder’s Office were unsure how the local same-sex marriage licenses would be affected if Proposition 8 were to pass. Legal experts have said it’s unlikely, but possible, that they could be declared void if Proposition 8 passes.

The question has become the most hard-fought proposition on the California ballot, and recent polls have shown increasing support for the ban.

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