For more than 40 years, Mina Meyer and Sharon Raphael have been together and they have twice been married.
So, as a practical matter, the U.S. Supreme Court's decision whether to review a challenge to Proposition 8 won't affect their life together.
Still, Meyer of Long Beach is looking forward to having her union validated.
"Marriage is an important thing that normalizes and removes stigma," the long-time Long Beach activist said. "It's just one thing, but it's important."
The U.S. Supreme Court today could decide to review a challenge to Proposition 8, the ban on same-sex marriage approved by California voters in 2008.
And it may hear at least one case challenging the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, and prevents same-sex couples from receiving federal benefits.
The court could open the door for same-sex marriage nationwide or keep the issue at a state-by-state level.
Lower courts have ruled in favor of same-sex marriage proponents, including the California case called Perry v. Brown.
Activists on both sides of the debate are anxious to see what the court does.
Rev. Sharon Rhodes-Wickett, senior pastor of the Claremont United Methodist Church, said her congregation has stood against Proposition 8 and is hopeful it will be overturned.
"We do think it's unjust," she said. "Having said that, it seems to me like it would be important
for the Supreme Court to wrestle with this issue, but that's risky."
Wickett said there are a number of gay and lesbian members of the church who have felt marginalized by the legislation as well as the stances taken against same-sex marriage by other churches.
"I think that just furthers their sense of not being recognized as a full human being that they are, and in the church context, being seen as a full child of God that they are," she said.
"We're really clear that that's wrong, and it doesn't affect anybody. It doesn't affect a heterosexual marriage that there would be homosexual marriage."
But that wouldn't sit well with those who oppose same-sex marriage and also believe such a move by the court would be judicial activism of the worst kind.
Among them is Lawrence Hebron, president of the San Bernardino-based Alliance of Christian Patriots.
"I think if the Supreme Court were acting in a strict constructionist point of view, there is no way they could allow for homosexual marriage," Hebron said. "The founders never conceived of this issue. If the court is going to behave according to the original intent (of the Constitution), there is no way they can accept this."
Hebron said American law is rooted in biblical principles. In quoting from the Declaration of Independence, he said rights are endowed by a creator.
He said rights therefore should conform with Scripture.
"This is not a matter of hatred or anything like that," Hebron said. "People talk about being homophobic. That is not the case at all. It's God knows best."
Eden Anderson, an organizing member of the Redlands-based Equality Inland Empire, said if the justices decide not to review the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling that Proposition 8 violates the state Constitution's equal-protection guarantee, same-sex couples will immediately look to get married.
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