The mood was electric that crisp, clear February day as couples lined up at San Francisco City Hall to be among the first to get licenses for same-sex marriages in California.

Nine tortuous years followed: The state high court halted and invalidated the San Francisco licenses, then later ruled gays and lesbians could marry. Some 18,000 couples rushed to do so before voters put a stop to the ceremonies by passing Proposition 8 in 2008. Then a federal judge and an appeals court threw that ballot initiative out.

On Tuesday, the two sides rested. The fate of one of the nation's most divisive issues was now in the hands of the U.S. Supreme Court.

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