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The Los Angeles Times

Gay Couples Hold Vigils Urging Justices to End Prop. 8

As opponents stage events across the state, backers prepare for today's state Supreme Court hearing on November ballot measure banning same-sex marriage.

Jessica Garrison

Proposition 8 protesters take part in a candlelight march in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday as the California Supreme Court prepares to hear legal arguments against the ballot measure banning same-sex marriage. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

As rain fell and the song "Fidelity" blasted through the sound system, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa presided Wednesday night over the "recommitment ceremonies" of half a dozen gay couples who married during the five-month period that such weddings were legal in California.

It was one of dozens of vigils held across California hours before the state Supreme Court hears oral arguments in the legal challenges to Proposition 8, the November ballot measure that banned same-sex marriage.

Many of the 200 or so people who attended Los Angeles' vigil said they did not expect their demonstration to influence the justices who will decide whether Proposition 8 is valid.

But they did want to send a public message, "to put a face on the issue," as Kate Kuykendall put it. Kuykendall, 32, of El Segundo, wore a white wedding dress. She and her wife, Tori, 32, are featured in a video set to the Regina Spektor song "Fidelity," which has become the gay marriage anthem.

Events were held Wednesday night in cities and towns across California, from San Francisco to San Diego, as well as in Florida and Arizona -- a sign that the political struggle will continue if the court rules against them, activists said.

As Proposition 8 opponents held vigils, backers of the measure sent an e-mail asking supporters to "keep our attorneys Ken Starr and Andrew Pugno . . . in your prayers tomorrow as they represent the majority of California who support traditional marriage. Pray also for wisdom for the justices of the court to show respect for the people's decision to enact Proposition 8."

The ruling is due in 90 days.

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