The California Supreme Court will hear the legal showdown over gay marriage on March 5, ensuring a decision on the future of same-sex nuptials across the state will arrive before summer.
The law suit arguing arguing that the Prop 8 ballot initiative that passed in the November election is invalid and should be struck down, was brought on by civil rights groups and San Francisco and Santa Clara Counties.
In a statement released Tuesday, the high court set three hours of arguments for its calendar in San Francisco, setting the stage for the justices to consider a series of legal challenges to voter-approved Proposition 8.
The various lawsuits argue that the ballot measure was an improper method of amending the California constitution, and deprives same-sex couples of the right to marry established in the May 2008 Supreme Court ruling.
The California Supreme Court agreed to hear the case last year, and will have 90-days from March 5th in which to make a ruling on the legality of Prop 8, as well as the fate of thousands of same-sex couples who married before voters approved the measure.
Supporters of Prop 8 have urged the Supreme Court to uphold the law and warned that a ruling otherwise would ignore the will of the voters. Several organizations have already threatened a political backlash on the Court if the ban on same-sex marriage is overturned. The Court was already divided divided 4-3 last year when it struck down the prior state law.
Proposition 8 supporters are being represented by Kenneth Starr, the conservative Pepperdine law school dean and special prosecutor in the impeachment trial of former President Bill Clinton.