SALT LAKE CITY - The U.S. Supreme Court will take up an historic same-sex marriage battle this week. The justices will hear arguments for two cases, which could have nationwide implications.
The first surrounds the controversial Proposition 8, California's ban on gay marriage. Arguments on its constitutionality will begin Tuesday morning. Wednesday, a separate case will challenge the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which denies same-sex couples the right to federal benefits.
In Salt Lake City, LGBT coalition Utah Pride organized a candlelight vigil Monday night that drew hundreds to Library Square.
"That commitment of marriage has a lot of meaning. It gives you something to build your relationship on," said Russell Baker-Gorringe, who spoke at the event with his husband, Joe. "Our relationship is as dignified and as celebrated, within our faith community, as much as the heterosexual couple sitting next to us."
The two married in Utah in 2005, and then again in 2008.
"We went to California just before the passage of Prop 8, and we were legally married."
A month later, voters in California passed proposition 8, and the decision had a ripple effect throughout the country, sparking protests all over, including in Utah.
The couple said, "Our hearts were also broken because so many other couples who loved each other, were committed to each other, could not have that opportunity, and it was taken away from them."
But with Prop 8 and DOMA both going before the justices, many, like Jamie Ursv and Dijana Ukmar, are hopeful.
"This time around it seems like there's more traction happening and things are really moving, we're hoping."
Ursv recalls the devastation she felt after Prop 8 was passed by voters in California, but she remains optimistic about the future.
She said, "I just want to be, I’m in love, I want to express it."
The court will decide the cases by the end of June.