For the first time since it declared California's gay marriage ban unconstitutional, the federal appeals court in San Francisco is readying to hear arguments over same-sex weddings in a political and legal climate that's vastly different than when it overturned Proposition 8 in 2012.
State and federal court judges have been striking down bans in more than a dozen states at a rapid rate since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year.
Now, three judges on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals — all appointed by Democrats and one of whom wrote the opinion overturning Proposition 8 — are set to hear arguments Monday on gay marriage bans in Idaho, Nevada and Hawaii.
"It seemed like such an uphill battle when I started," said Shannon Minter, legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. "I really couldn't imagine then that we would be where we are now."
Minter has been fighting for gay marriage for 21 years, was instrumental in challenging bans in California and Utah and is representing gay couples seeking to overturn Idaho's prohibition.