WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is wading into the fight over same-sex marriage at a time when public opinion is shifting rapidly in favor of permitting gay and lesbian couples to wed, but 40 states don't allow it.
The court's first major examination of gay rights in 10 years begin today with a hearing on California's ban on same-sex marriage. On Wednesday, the justices will consider the federal law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of benefits afforded straight married Americans.
Actor-director Rob Reiner, who helped lead the fight against California's Proposition 8, was at the head of line this morning. Some people waited since Thursday — even through light snow — for coveted seats for the argument.
Both sides of the case were represented outside the courthouse. Supporters of gay marriage came with homemade signs including ones that read "a more perfect union" and "love is love."
Among the opponents was retired metal worker Mike Krzywonos, 57, of Pawtucket, R.I. He wore a button that read "marriage 1 man + 1 woman" and said his group represents the "silent majority."