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Across the country, the legal debate over same-sex marriage shows no sign of letting up this year, with three state high courts weighing in the same week with rulings and at least three appellate courts and three trial courts expected to rule by the end of the year. In the last two weeks, the New York and Georgia state high courts said no to same-sex unions, while Massachusetts’ high court, which approved same-sex marriage in 2003, cleared the way for state residents to vote on a proposal to reinstate the ban. Meanwhile, a California appeals court last week heard an unprecedented four hours of televised argument over denial of marriage licenses to gay couples. In New Jersey and Washington, same-sex marriage decisions have been pending in the states’ high courts for months. And in Iowa, Connecticut and Maryland, same-sex marriage cases are in the trial courts. A total of 41 states have statutes defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Nineteen states, including some of those 41, define marriage in state constitutions. Six states have neither and seven states have constitutional amendments on the ballot in 2006. Those seven are Alabama, Idaho, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Virginia and Wisconsin.

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