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Anticipation turns to acceptance as California awaits marriage ruling

LOS ANGELES — Less than five years after California voters approved a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, the fate of that referendum — and the ability of thousands of gay men and lesbians to marry — is expected to be decided by the United States Supreme Court this week.

But even as the decision is awaited, there is not much apprehension here, in the current epicenter of the fight over same-sex marriage.

Proponents now say they have little doubt that even with the worst outcome from the court — upholding the ban — California voters would legalize gay marriage if the measure made it on the ballot again. That level of confidence is evidence of how the cultural and political landscape has shifted here, but also of the lessons learned from the unexpected defeat of five years ago. Even opponents of same-sex marriage, looking at many of the same polls, say they would have a far more difficult battle if California voters were given another chance to vote on the issue.

In the four years since the legal challenge to the state’s constitutional amendment, Proposition 8, was first filed, gay marriage has become legal in eight more states. Last year, President Obama became the first sitting president to speak out in favor of same-sex marriage, and voters in Maine, Maryland and Washington approved same-sex marriage proposals.

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