NORFOLK - Supporters of gay rights are watching the U.S. Supreme Court, which is hearing arguments on the issue of gay marriage.

About 200 people rallied outside U.S District Court on Granby Street in downtown Norfolk on Tuesday following the high court's consideration of California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage.

Proponents said equal rights for gays and lesbians has been a long time coming and they won't give up the fight.

The issue before the court on Tuesday: Does the Constitution require that people be allowed to marry whom they choose, regardless of either partner's gender? The fact that the question was in front of the Supreme Court at all was startling, given that no state recognized same-sex unions before 2003 and 40 states still don't allow them.

In Washington, DC Wednesday, the justices will consider the federal law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of benefits afforded straight married people. Analysts say the justices have indicated they might avoid a major national ruling on whether America's gays and lesbians have a right to marry.

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