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The Supreme Court preparing for the  fight over same-sex marriage at a time when public opinion is shifting rapidly in favor of permitting gay and lesbian couples to marry. As of today, 40 states do not allow  same-sex marriages and for the first time in 10 years, the U.S. Supreme Court will conduct a hearing on California’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Many have waited in line since the weekend braving rain, sleet and snow for a chance to witness the court’s deliberation and decision. After this trying day, on Wednesday, the justices will discuss and vote on the federal law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of benefits that straight married Americans are afforded.

Prop 8 was the California ballot referendum passed in November 2008 that banned same-sex marriage, reversing by popular vote the state Supreme Court’s decision just months earlier to recognize marriage equality.

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