Lawyers leading the fight for gay marriage in California have been quietly preparing state officials for the possibility the U.S. Supreme Court might dismiss the case on a technicality next month without deciding the fate of Proposition 8.
The justices could decide that the sponsors of the ballot measure outlawing same-sex marriage had no legal right, or standing, to defend it in federal court. That would end the case in Washington, but it is not clear what it would mean for California.
If state officials declared Proposition 8 dead, relying on U.S. District Judge Vaughn R. Walker's 2010 ruling against the measure, same-sex weddings could commence within weeks or months. Or there could be another legal fight over the reach of Walker's ruling.
The story fleshes out several possible outcomes in California if the high court does not rule on the case.