LOS ANGELES— The U.S. Supreme Court will consider same-sex marriage in two historic cases being argued this week. Gay couples - both married and unmarried - are watching closely.
Supporters of same-sex marriage are rallying this week in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities, urging the Supreme Court to overturn California's 2008 gay marriage ban, called Proposition 8, and the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 federal law that defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman.
About 18,000 same-sex couples married in California in a five-month period in 2008, before the state supreme court ruled that Proposition 8 is legally valid. That prevented more same-sex marriages, but the justices allowed existing marriages to stand.
One Los Angeles lesbian couple is among the thousands who married, and Vangie Griego says they want that right for others.
“I should not be treated differently because I love a woman. And my children should not be treated differently because their mothers decided to fall in love and decided to adopt children,” Griego said.
The women, who have two school-age sons, say they face restrictions not faced by heterosexual couples. They have no spousal rights for federal pension benefits, and clear-cut inheritance rights if one of them dies. Griego's partner, Marita Forney, says it's not fair.
“Our love is the same, our needs, it's all the same, and I think the idea that we're somehow so different, it's so important for people to understand, we're not,” Forney said.
At the recent Los Angeles rally, supporters of same-sex marriage said they are optimistic. Alejandro Escoto and his partner Ramiro Vasquez hope a favorable ruling will allow them to get married.
“Because we have a life together for 15 years, and for the state or for someone to tell us that's not right, that's not OK,” Vasquez said.
Nine U.S. states and the District of Columbia permit gay marriage. Thirty-nine others states ban it. The court could rule narrowly on the California law, or more broadly on the issue nationwide.