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Gay marriage in California awaits U.S. Supreme Court review

As voters in three more states cast ballots to allow gay marriage in last week's election,  some California gay marriage activists have grown impatient at seeing gains elsewhere while the question remains in legal limbo here.

But as soon as this month the U.S. Supreme Court could consider whether to review a federal appeals court decision that overturned Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that banned gay marriage in California.

If the high court decides not to review the 9th Circuit Appeal's decision, gay marriage could begin in California before the end of the year, advocates said.

INTERACTIVE: Same-sex marriage milestones in U.S.

If the court decides to hear the case, the question could be decided next summer.

The court could also prolong the waiting by holding the Proposition 8 case until it reviews rulings on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Jon W. Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, a gay rights organization, said that whatever the court does, the election last week demonstrated that public opinion on same-sex marriage is moving in favor of gay rights.

"This will send an even clearer message to the justices about which way the winds of history are blowing," he said.

Opponents of gay marriage dispute that, arguing that the four states where gay marriage was on the ballot last week were all liberal-leaning places.

Voters in Maryland, Washington and Maine approved legalizing gay marriage. In Minnesota, voters rejected a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Gay marriage is now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia.

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-- Jessica Garrison and Maura Dolan

 
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