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US Supreme Court To Discuss Prop 8 Friday

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UPDATE: It was announced around 1 p.m. there will be no decision made Friday.

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — After years of emotional and contentious debate, court proceedings, ballot measures, protests and endless TV ads, the subject of same-sex marriage in California may finally be decided.

Friday, the US Supreme Court is scheduled to begin discussion about Prop 8.

CBS2 and KCAL9 political reporter spoke to people Thursday who have a stake in the outcome.

Jeff Zarrillo and Paul Katami are two plaintiffs in the Prop 8 argument. They have waited a long time for the Supreme Court to decide whether to take up their case, and they’ve waited even longer to get married.

Bryan reports the court is not going to rule on Prop 8 and they won’t rule tomorrow. The court is just deciding whether to hear the appeal in the Prop 8 case.

Says Katami, “We’ve been together for almost 12 years. So it’s a natural course when you find someone you want to get married to. When you know it’s right. It’s just a natural course to want to be married. We experienced the frustration where we were denied that right. We’re a couple, we work, we own a home. We pay our taxes. And just because we are in a same sex relationship, it shouldn’t change the fact, we are treated differently.”

Katami and Zarrillo say regardless of whether the court takes their case or not, they say its a win-win for them.

Says Zarrillo, “I’m hoping the court does the right thing. There are people in America that are being discriminated against — not just in California but all over the place. And we can’t have a crazy quilt. We  can’t go from one state to the next and not have the same rights.”

With thousands of same-sex couples waiting, the Supreme Court will decide — behind closed doors–  whether to hear an appeal of lower court decisions that threw out Proposition 8, which was passed by California voters in 2008 — defining marriage as an act between a man and a woman. Prop 8 was later struck down by the courts.

Supporters of Prop 8, who have brought the appeal, argue that the will of the voters should be paramount here.

Prop 8 supporter Brad Dacus says, “That’s the key question. Is this going to be up to the people and have their voices heard and respected at the ballot box? Or is this going to be something snatched from them by judges from i.e. the 9th Circuit.”

Adam Umhoefer is the executive director of the LA-based American Foundation for Equal Rights, which supports same sex marriage. He says no matter whether the court decides to hear the appeal or rejects it, there’s great potential for a same sex marriage victory. “It’s historic for the court to be making a ruling of any kind in this case. And we are confident in our chances of success. No matter which way it happens.”

And Umhoefer adds, “If the court denies the appeal and marriages resume in California? That’s a huge, historic day in California. If the court hears the case, we believe we will have that big historic day. It just might be further down the road.”

Experts say the justices may be deeply divided on whether to hear the case and it could come down to a single vote to break a tie.

CBS News Chief Legal Analyst Andrew Cohen thinks the key player might be Anthony Kennedy. “Of course, ironically he’s a Californian. He’s also a conservative justice, a Reagan appointee who has been very strong in his support of gay rights the past couple of decades. He is the 5th vote here.”

If the Justices decide not to hear the appeal, it would effectively return same-sex marriage to California, reports Bryan. On the other hand, if the court does decide to hear the appeal that could lead to a far more reaching decision that could have national implications.

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