SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Passionate protestors against California's same sex marriage ban gathered outside the Federal Courthouse in San Francisco Monday morning. Inside, closing arguments are now underway in the trial over Proposition 8.
"This case for us is about how we as Americans just want to be treated equally by our government and under the law and today we will be going to court with that very simple request," said plaintiff Sandy Stier.
"All we are asking the court to do is to make sure that we are protected under our constitution, like every American is supposed to be," said plaintiff Jeff Zarrillo.
Inside the courtroom right now are superstar attorneys Theodore Olson and David Boies. The attorneys are best known for battling each other over the Bush-Gore election controversy. They are now on the same side, arguing that Proposition 8, the voter approved ban on same sex marriage, is a violation of the constitution's guarantee of equality. Members of the Alliance Defense Fund were at the courthouse to support the Prop 8 ban.
"The 7 million voters in California voted for Prop 8. They made a reasonable, legitimate public policy decision that the constitution permits. The federal judge should just defer to their decision," said Jordan Lorence of the Alliance Defense Fund.
Chief U.S. Judge Vaughn Walker is also being asked to rule on the 18,000 same sex marriages that occurred in California during the six month period when they were legal. Yes on 8 attorneys want the judge to rule that government agencies, courts and businesses no longer have to recognize the couples as married.
"This is a very odd request by the defendants. That issue was resolved by the California Supreme Court, it is a matter of California state law and I don't think Judge Walker has jurisdiction to interfere with that decision," said ABC7 Legal Analyst Dean Johnson.
Judge Walker's opening line had the court buzzing.
"Judge Walker in his very first opening line said 'I'm sorry this took so long, but after all it is June and June is the month for weddings.' Was he telegraphing a decision?" asked Johnson.
Olson argued on how the word marriage has taken on an extended meaning throughout history. He brought up examples of how it was expanded to include slaves and interracial marriage. Olson argued that these expansions have not only changed the institution, but made it stronger.