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Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker has ruled that California's controversial voter-approved Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage in 2008, is unconstitutional. The 136-page ruling in Perry v. Schwarzenegger sends ripples across the nation, where gay marriage has been contested at the ballot box repeatedly, advancing the cause of gay rights on the ground in California but also all but guaranteeing that a higher court will now be asked to take up the issue. A decision by the Supreme Court on the matter would effectively end any bans on gay marriage in all 50 states.