California’s ban on same-sex marriage will go before the highest court in the land on Tuesday, with the Supreme Court justices set to hear arguments on Proposition 8.

The measure was enacted by voters in November 2008, banning same-sex marriage and providing that only marriage between a man and woman is valid or recognized in California. It was then challenged by two couples – Kristin Perry and Sandra Stier of Berkeley and Paul Katami and Jeffrey Zarrillo of Burbank – who filed a lawsuit in May of 2009. The issue has since made its way through the appeals court process, with the latest decision striking down the initiative last year.

Both sides had figured the highly contentious issue would end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, which after listening to arguments on Tuesday, is expected to come to a decision by the end of June.

At Tuesday’s hearing, each side will have 30 minutes to argue its case, with the justices having a number of different options. They could uphold Proposition 8 or strike it down. The decision could also affect only California or have a broader range, affecting eight states or the entire country.

Proponents of both sides have been lining up in Washington, D.C. since last week, hoping to grab a seat in what could be a historical case. The Supreme Court is also expected to release same-day audio of Tuesday’s proceedings on its website.



Photo Credit: Staffordvaughan, via Wikimedia Commons