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Date published: 12/8/2012


There is nothing that compelled a similar response in the case over California's Proposition 8, the state constitutional ban on gay marriage that voters adopted in 2008 after the state Supreme Court ruled that gay Californians could marry. Indeed, gay marriage supporters who prevailed in the lower courts urged the Supreme Court to stay out of the case and allow same-sex unions to resume in the nation's largest state.

Even some gay rights activists worried it was too soon in the evolution of views to ask the justices to declare same-sex couples have the right to marry. But Theodore Olson, the Washington lawyer who represents Californians who sued over Proposition 8, says he will argue a "fundamental constitutional right to marry for all citizens."

Opponents said they're heartened by the action.

"We believe it is a strong signal that the court will reverse the lower courts and uphold Proposition 8," said John Eastman, chairman of National Organization for Marriage and a law professor at Chapman University in Orange, Calif.

Advocates for same-sex unions said the court could decide in favor of gay marriage in California without issuing a sweeping national ruling to overturn every state prohibition.

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