Deja new: Gay challenge reaches California court

SAN FRANCISCO — A year after the state Supreme Court entertained arguments on extending marriage to gay couples, many of the same lawyers will be back before the same seven justices this week arguing why California’s voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage should stand or fall.

The passage of Proposition 8 last November changed the state constitution to prohibit gay marriage and trumped the high court’s decision as few months earlier to legalize it. But the ballot measure was appealed and the justices on Thursday are getting the final word on whether marriage is an institution that must accommodate two women or two men.

The debate will be framed by not only the gay and lesbian couples who see their struggle as the modern equivalent of prohibitions on interracial marriage, but the 7 million citizens who rejected that comparison in an $83 million election.

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