By Ronnie Cohen and Peter Henderson
SAN FRANCISCO, Dec 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court's
decision on Friday to review California's same-sex marriage ban
disappointed some Golden State gay couples who would have been
able to wed if the court refused to hear the case.
If the court had not taken the case, a federal appeals court
ruling that had overturned the ban would have been the law of
the state, opening the way to same-sex marriages in California
and leaving the nation unchanged.
Now the Supreme Court could decide whether -- or not -- the
U.S. Constitutional guarantees gays the right to marry.
The stakes are now higher, the wait is longer, and there is
no certainty gay rights advocates will win.
"I'm not going to lose hope and lose faith. The winds of
change are upon us," said Elizabeth Chase, 30, an ad sales
person who wants to marry her girlfriend and came to city hall
to hear city leaders discuss court plans.
The Beaux-Arts city hall is a popular place for San
Franciscans to marry, and heterosexual couples were tying the
knot as city officials spoke.
"I've been waiting for three years to enjoy the same things
these folks are enjoying," Chase said as she looked longingly at
a bride in a long white dress marry her groom.
"I would be lying if I didn't say I was a little
disappointed," Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart, who
argued in court against Proposition 8, which was passed by
voters in fall 2008. Stewart married a woman in summer 2008,
before Prop 8 ended court-approved same-sex marriage.
"Am I nervous? Yeah. I am optimistic as well," she said.
Polls show a solid majority of Californians now approve of
same-sex nuptials, but surveys also showed support before the
2008 vote that passed the gay marriage ban. In any case, there
are plenty of opponents in the state.
"I'm Christian, so my belief has always been that marriage
should be between a man and a woman," said Linda Garcia, 34, a
resource specialist to help cancer patients, who was attending
her brother's wedding.
Andy Pugno, a lawyer for the team defending Prop 8, hopes
the Supreme Court will agree that this is a matter for states to
decide. "So the Supreme Court's decision does not necessarily
mark the end of the issue," he said.
That attitude keeps Sandy Stier, one of the plaintiffs who
challenged the ban, ready to keep fighting. She and her partner,
Kris Perry, told reporters on a conference call that they were
not at all disappointed by the high court's move, since they
wanted to change the nation.
"It is absolutely worth waiting for," said Stier.
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