Calif. Court Considers Gay Marriage

Judges, who appear split, have 90 days to rule on ban
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 5, 2008 7:37 AM CST
California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George gestures in San Francisco, Tuesday, March 4, 2008. Gay marriage supporters and opponents are finished presenting arguments on whether California...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – An overflow crowd and hundreds more outside a San Francisco courthouse listened yesterday as the California Supreme Court heard arguments on the state's gay marriage ban, the Los Angeles Times reports. The judges appeared split as lawyers argued for more than 3 1/2 hours. One judge asked if domestic partnership did not basically confer the same rights as marriage. "Doesn't this just boil down to the use of the 'm' word, marriage?" he asked.

"That symbol has deep meaning," a San Francisco lawyer said. The state's legal battle began when San Francisco married 4,000 same-sex couples in 2004; now the court has 90 days to approve or strike down California's marriage law. Six of the judges are Republican and form the backbone of a moderately conservative court.