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Gavin Newsom (D) is the 40th governor of California, having won the 2018 election with 62 percent of the vote.Newsom lists increasing affordability and "standing up for California's values" as his priorities as governor, saying that "California has a responsibility and opportunity to show the country and the world what inclusive, progressive government can achieve." Before assuming statewide office, Newsom spent 15 years in local government.The California Supreme Court in August 2004 nullified the more than 4,000 marriage licenses that had been issued to same-sex couples following Newsom's directives.The decision was based on a state law defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

In February 2004, Newsom directed the San Francisco county clerk to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, contrary to state law—a decision The Mercury News said "sparked Gavin Newsom’s political rise." He issued the order after attending President George W.The city and a group of same-sex couples filed a lawsuit saying the supreme court's ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.In May 2008, the court legalized same-sex marriage.The Mercury News described reactions to Newsom's directive in the following way: While the move won Newsom huge popularity within the 47 square miles of San Francisco, he faced condemnation from national leaders of his own party. Newsom was blamed by party leaders for anti-marriage equality constitutional amendments that passed in 11 states in 2004, and for Democrat John Kerry’s loss in the presidential race.In 2006, Newsom signed into law the San Francisco Health Access Program, also known as Healthy San Francisco.

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