03/26/2013 11:36 am ET

Prop 8 In San Francisco: A City Marches And Waits (PHOTOS)

SAN FRANCISCO -- The most creative signs at San Francisco's March 4 Equality read, "God Loves Fags," "What would Harvey do?" and "I liked it but I couldn't put a ring on it."

But one captured the essence of the evening perfectly. It read simply, "Danu, will you marry me?"

"My sign is a real-deal legitimate marriage proposal to my girlfriend, Danu," its creator, Cindy Franks, told The Huffington Post. Franks explained that Danu was not at the rally, and she was relying on the media to post pictures of her efforts. "If she doesn't see this I have to come up with a whole new creative way to propose," she said.

Franks was among the several thousand people who took to the streets of San Francisco Monday night on the eve of the historic Supreme Court hearing of Proposition 8.

On Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments debating the constitutionality of Prop 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage. The court's ruling stands to set the precedent not only in California, but for gay marriage bans across the nation.

(Story continues after slideshow)

San Francisco March 4 Equality

"I know there could be a lot of different outcomes, but it really feels like we're on the cusp," said Franks.

Marchers walked behind a police escort while carrying signs, waving rainbow flags and chanting, "Gay, straight, black, white, marriage is a civil right."

Another attendee was Reverend Victor Floyd of the Metropolitan Community Church, an LGBT friendly denomination.

"It seems really appropriate for this to be happening during the Easter holy week," he said. "Jesus was put on trial this week, just like marriage equality. We're obviously hoping for a different outcome, though. It didn't go so well for Jesus."

Jokes aside, Floyd's fight is a personal one. Though he and his partner wed in 2007, their marriage is not legal.

"I've conducted many same-sex weddings, when they were legal and when they weren't. I didn't think it would make a difference, but it does," he explained. "To be able to commit yourself to the person you love legally? It makes all the difference in the world."

While the current battle has thrust the state into the spotlight, the fight for marriage equality in California precedes Prop 8. In 2000, voters approved a similar ban called Proposition 22.

After years of appeals, the California Supreme Court ruled the proposition unconstitutional in 2008, and couples flocked to City Hall to tie the knot. But just six months later, voters passed Prop 8, and same-sex marriage became illegal again.

Now, after a four-year rigmarole through challenges and appeals, the ban has finally reached the Supreme Court.

For marriage equality advocates in California, the past 13 years has been a series of heartbreaks and victories.

"To be honest, I'm a little burnt out," admitted David Mundy. Mundy legally married his husband, Jeffrey Manese, during the six-month window in 2008.

"We had a domestic partnership ceremony in San Francisco when that became legal," remembered Mundy. "But it didn't feel like 'married' married. It felt sort of like getting a dog license."

Still, many same-sex marriage advocates remain optimistic that the court will rule in their favor.

"It really is discrimination, and I'm hopeful that the Supreme Court will realize there really isn't any evidence to support the opposition's claims," said Floyd. "To see Republicans speaking out in support, the President, the American Academy of Pediatrics. The country is deciding for itself."

The Supreme Court's decision is expected to come out in late June, which, Floyd noted, would coincide with San Francisco Pride Week.

"The timing will hopefully be serendipitous," he said. "But no matter what happens in the courtroom, America has changed. And we can't go back."



Proposition 8 Timeline