Thousands of activists on both sides of the gay marriage question are poised to rally outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., starting on Tuesday while the justices hear oral arguments for two cases concerning same-sex marriage.
On Tuesday and Wednesday the court will hear arguments concerning the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a 2008 voter-approved law in California that banned gay marriage. On Wednesday the court will consider the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed by Congress in 1996 that restricts the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage.
Supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage are planning major rallies near the building to voice their views.
As early as last Thursday—five days before oral arguments begin—people began lining up near the court steps to secure seats inside, sitting through freezing temperatures, rain and snow over the weekend.
On Tuesday they will be joined by thousands more, some who are flying in from around the country for the hearings.
The National Organization for Marriage, which opposes extending marriage rights to same-sex couples, will hold a rally on the National Mall, a few blocks from the Supreme Court. The organization has a permit for 5,000 attendees to rally before marching together toward the court building. NOM has organized with church congregations from 15 states that have confirmed their planned attendance.
Supporters of same-sex marriage will also be on hand outside the court. The Human Rights Campaign, a leading gay advocacy group, is planning a diverse lineup of speakers throughout the morning, including a few Republicans who have crossed party lines to support extending marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples.
District of Columbia Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton will address the pro-gay marriage rally, as will David Frum, a conservative journalist and former speechwriter for former President George W. Bush.
Yahoo News will be on hand both inside the court for hearing coverage and outside for the rallies. Follow live updates throughout the day on Flickr and join a live chat about the cases on Tuesday at 12:30 p.m. ET.