A legal ruling by Calfornia's supreme court has opened the way for talkshow host Ellen Degeneres to marry her partner.

Ellen, 50, announced the news on her show last night, prompting a standing ovation and wild cheers from the studio audience.

"Yesterday the California supreme court turned a ban on gay marriage," she said.

"So I would like to say right now for the first time I am announcing I am getting married."

Her wife-to-be, 35-year-old Nip/Tuck and Ally Mcbeal actress Portia De Rossi, was in the audience clapping happily after Ellen announced the news.

"Thank you – I'll tell you who the lucky guy is soon," she said, prompting laughter.

"I'm so excited. It's something that of course we've wanted to do and we've wanted to be legal and we're just very, very excited."

The happy couple – and thousands of other gay couples busily planning their impending nuptials – will have to wait until June 16th for the court ruling to take effect, however.

And they may have to hurry as Californians will vote on a state constitutional amendment on the issue next year, potentially outlawing gay marriage once again.

17/05/2008 11:41:34