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California governor signs bill replacing words 'husband' and 'wife' in state law

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AP

The terms “husband” and “wife” have been deleted from California’s marriage law under a bill signed into law Monday by Gov. Jerry Brown.

The terms will be replaced with “spouse” to accommodate same-sex marriage, which became legal in the state last year after the Supreme Court struck down a voter-approved ban on it.

SB1306, the bill signed Monday by Brown, takes effect Jan. 1 and reflects the legality of gay marriage after a decade of litigation. The law also removes limits on recognizing same-sex marriages performed out of state.

The language was enacted after voters approved Proposition 22 in 2000. The initiative was struck down by the California Supreme Court in 2008, prompting voters to amend the constitution and ban gay marriage.

Last year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld a lower court's decision ruling the ban unconstitutional. The bill was authored by state Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco, who said Monday the bill is necessary to update existing state law.   

“I am pleased Governor Brown has recognized the importance of this bill, which makes it explicitly clear in state law that every loving couple has the right to marry in California,” Leno said. “This legislation removes outdated and biased language from state codes and recognizes all married spouses equally, regardless of their gender.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report