The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide on Friday whether or not to hear a case challenging a federal appellate court ruling that found the state ballot measure banning gay marriage to be unconstitutional, the Los Angeles Times reported.
If the justices opt not to hear the Proposition 8 case, then a federal appeals court ruling that found the 2008 state ballot measure banning same-sex marriage unconstitutional would stand, clearing the way for marriages to begin. If the justices take up the case, a ruling would not come until next year and gay marriage would remain on hold until then, or longer depending on how the court rules.
Were the high court to decide to rule on Hollingsworth vs. Perry, it could lead to a historic victory legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. But gay activists are well aware that the court could rule against them and throw the movement back at a time when same-sex marriage has seen a series of election victories at the state level.
The court could also put the case on hold, further delaying progress on the issue.
"The problem with the court process … is it's extremely slow," Thomas Watson from the marriage rights group Love Honor Cherish told the Times. "The promises that were made when the [federal lawsuit] was filed was that it was going to bring marriage nationwide and do so quickly."
Both sides of the same-sex marriage debate are eager for a nationwide resolution.
Jim Campbell, legal counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom, which represents the official proponents of Proposition 8, told the Times he hoped the high court would rule "that defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman is constitutional."
Los Angeles County officials, meanwhile, said they are waiting to see what the court does before taking any action.
But many couples said that if the high court's actions lead to legalization of same-sex marriage in California, they won't need to rush to the altar because this time there will be nothing hanging over their heads that could take away the right to marriage.
Same-sex marriage is legal in nine states and the District of Columbia.
According to research by the Williams Institute at UCLA law school, there are nearly 100,000 same-sex couples living in California, and more than 24,000 would marry in the next three years if state law permitted them to do so.
Click here to read the full L.A. Times story.
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