At San Francisco City Hall, officials are awaiting their moment in history, but they just don't know when it will come.
In the complex calculus of gay marriage in California, weddings could become legal within days. So City Hall is preparing for a possible crush of same-sex couples seeking marriage licenses and making contingency plans for demonstrations.
But it is also possible that this preparation is for naught and the future of same-sex unions will remain up in the air for months or longer.
The U.S. Supreme Court is poised to take up the issue of gay marriage in California as soon as Friday morning. The moment has prompted nervous debate within the gay-rights movement about the best path to achieve gay marriage.