Prop 8 supporters fought this round in front of a national TV audience on C-Span. But Fresno pastor Jim Franklin says he expects supporters like him to lose this round because the deck is stacked against them.
Prop 8 supporters loudly stated their case against same sex marriage outside the court where a three-judge panel will decide whether a ban is unconstitutional. But on the inside, even the one judge expected to side with them questioned whether they even belonged in court.
"What is the rational basis then if, in fact, the homosexual couples here have all the rights that heterosexual couples have?" asked Judge N. Randy Smith of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. "We're left with a word: Marriage."
"I think it's really encouraging to see the most conservative judge on the panel questioning objectively whether they have standing or not," said gay rights advocate Scotti Maldonado.
Maldonado says this may be the best opportunity to prove a marriage ban is unconstitutional -- discriminating on the basis of sexual preference.
Prop 8 supporters argued society has a vital interest in keeping the institution of marriage traditional.
Attorney Charles Cooper compared same sex marriages to single parent homes, which drew a humorous response from one of the judges. "Children raised in that circumstance have poor outcomes," he said.
"That sounds like a good argument for prohibiting divorce," responded Judge Stephen Reinhardt.
Legal experts expect the court's ruling to favor same sex marriage. Even prop 8 supporters called it a foregone conclusion.
"That's the sad thing," said Pastor Franklin. "We go into this thing knowing it's a lost cause. That's not the way judges are supposed to decide. They're supposed to be impartial."
The ruling probably won't come for at least three months. After that, both sides anticipate taking it to the U.S Supreme Court.