When Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker ruled to strike down Proposition 8 on August 4, saying that the same-sex marriage ban was discriminatory and unconstitutional, gay couple Teresa Rowe and Kristin Orbin were elated. But, on August 16, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals imposed a stay on same-sex marriage that will last until at least the end of the year–and now their marriage must wait.

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Oakland residents Joel Preston and Kevin Harrigan were among the 18,000 same-sex couples who got married in California during the six months in 2008 when gay marriage was legal. Now, as the state waits for a ruling in on the Proposition 8 trial that may overturn California’s current ban on same-sex marriage, the couple reflects on what two years of legal marriage have meant to them, and what the right may mean to others.

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As Theodore Olson, the attorney for the same-sex couples who sued the state of California for the right to marry, concluded his final remarks in the historic trial, people watching in the San Francisco courthouse’s overflow room stood up and cheered. Wednesday was the last day in the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, and Olson used his final moments before Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker to argue that Proposition 8, the 2008 California ballot initiative that prohibited same-sex marriage, was discriminatory.

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