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Massachusetts to Affirm 26 Same-Sex Unions of 2004

Gov. Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts has ordered the state Department of Public Health to register the marriages of 26 out-of-state same-sex couples whose licenses were kept from state records by the former governor.

The move is mostly symbolic, and means the certificates will be included in a bound index of marriage licenses issued in 2004. It does not change the marriages' legal status.

The couples filled out marriage applications in the days following the start of same-sex marriages here on May 17, 2004. All of them were completed in four cities and towns whose clerks defied an order by Gov. Mitt Romney not to marry same-sex couples from outside Massachusetts who did not intend to move here.

A 1913 law, upheld by the state's highest court last year, forbids couples from marrying in the state if the union is not legal in their own state.

John Auerbach, commissioner for the health agency, which keeps marriage records, recently brought the matter to Patrick's attention.

Kyle Sullivan, a spokesman for Patrick, said: "There was no legal basis for separating these certificates in the first place."

Of the 26 couples, two were from Rhode Island, Sullivan said.

A Massachusetts superior court judge ruled in September that Rhode Island does not expressly prohibit same-sex marriages and that its residents can marry in Massachusetts. The Rhode Island attorney general, Patrick Lynch, has said his state should recognize the unions.

Master of Search Seeks Mastery of the TV Dial

Following its conquest of YouTube last year, Google is now aiming for a piece of the old-fashioned tube.

The Internet search giant is announcing Tuesday that it will begin selling television ads on the 125 national satellite programming channels distributed by EchoStar Communications' DISH Network.

The agreement is Google's latest foray into offline media, and it underscores the company's ambition to bring its wildly successful online advertising technology and auction-based pricing to new markets to continue fueling the company's rapid growth.

Google's online advertising technology has appealed to advertisers in large part because it allows them to aim ads effectively at specific audiences and users, and to measure the performance of those ads quickly. The company hopes it can bring those forces to old-line media.

"We think we can add value to this important medium by delivering more relevant ads to viewers, providing better accountability for advertisers and better monetize inventory for TV operators and programmers," Google's chief executive, Eric E. Schmidt, said in a statement announcing the EchoStar partnership.

Last year, Google began tests to sell radio spots and newspaper ads. Those tests have been inconclusive so far, and some analysts say the company needs to show investors that it can succeed in a market other than Internet search and advertising, which accounts for the bulk of its revenue.