Ken Pierce of Equality Action Now, waves a rainbow flag outside a San Francisco courthouse in Dec. 2011.

Ken Pierce of Equality Action Now, waves a rainbow flag outside a San Francisco courthouse in Dec. 2011. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times / November 12, 2012)

As voters in three more states cast ballots to allow gay marriage in last week's election,  some California gay marriage activists have grown impatient at seeing gains elsewhere while the question remains in legal limbo here.

But as soon as this month the U.S. Supreme Court could consider whether to review a federal appeals court decision that overturned Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure that banned gay marriage in California.

If the high court decides not to review the 9th Circuit Appeal's decision, gay marriage could begin in California before the end of the year, advocates said.

If the court decides to hear the case, the question could be decided next summer.

The court could also prolong the waiting by holding the Proposition 8 case until it reviews rulings on the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

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-- Jessica Garrison and Maura Dolan