Gay marriage supporters, opponents line up outside Supreme Court

This photo was taken on Saturday, three days before the Supreme Court would begin its arguments. About 20 people were in line. Photo: Mike Conneen/ABC7

Starting Tuesday, the Supreme Court will hear two cases that could forever change the definition of marriage in the nation. Getting a front seat means toughing out one of the roughest springs in recent memory.

People have been lining up all weekend outside the Supreme Court, camping out for a chance to witness history.

Weather was just part of the experience Monday with snow still on the ground and rain falling from the sky.

“For me it was a no-brainer to come down here,” says Jeffrey Desoto. “As a gay man in American, the outcome of this case will be directly impactful on my life.”

Desoto has been in line since Friday.

“It could be the most important decision that is made by the Supreme Court in my entire life,” he says.

He’ll likely be inside on Tuesday and Wednesday when justices will be able to ask questions from attorneys on both sides of the issue.

First up is a case out of California, which deals directly with same-sex marriage. In 2008, voters in the state passed Proposition 8, banning gay marriage. But it was tied up in the courts, which have since ruled Proposition 8 unconstitutional.

Longtime couple Kris Perry and Sandra Stier are the lead plaintiffs.

"Everyone we know and love has this rightm and we don't...," said Perry. "It's time for us to have a chance at that happiness as well."

The court’s decision may answer several questions.

“Does it make the right to same-sex marriage the law of the land just in California or in some other states as well in every state in the nation?” asks Josh Gerstein.

Hearings on Wednesday have to do with the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

Peggy Nienaber was the fifteenth in line. She works for a non-profit and just wants to hear the arguments.

“It’s very interesting and it will be history,” she says.

Taylor Carter of Annandale, Va. is using this as a chance to make some cash. The 19-year-old has been in line since Saturday, holding a spot for three California friends who are against gay marriage and want to be inside the hearings.

She wouldn’t say how much, but is getting paid for the pain of having to weather days of outdoor living.

“It’s going to be a really big deal either way it goes because it’s going to set such a precedent for whatever happens around the country,” she says.

Charles Steffes, who opposes gay marriage, is also braving the cold and rain in hopes of getting a front row seat to history.

"I owe it to myself and my future family to stand firm on my principles I believe in," Steffes said.

A ruling is not expected until June.