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After New Jersey defeat, gay marriage advocates turn to courts

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Vote v. court

While the San Francisco trial is focused on Proposition 8, it could have an impact on the nationwide debate on gay marriage and eventually reach the US Supreme Court.

When the case was initially filed, a coalition of gay-rights groups issued a statement saying it was too early to challenge Proposition 8 in federal courts. They wanted to return to the polls to legalize gay marriage.

“A marriage case based on the federal Constitution may well not win the right to marry back in California. A loss would likely set back the fight for marriage nationwide,” said the statement by the country’s leading gay rights groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and Lambda Legal.

That initial opposition to the lawsuit filed by two high-profile lawyers, who argued on opposite sides of the Bush v. Gore 2000 Supreme Court case, has since softened.

One of the lawyers in the case, Theodore Olson, told Time magazine, “[O]ur clients were made fully aware of the risks and chose to go forward. For them, the status quo is already failure. We had every reason to believe that someone was going to bring this case in any event – without the resources or experience that we can assemble.”

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