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Justice Kennedy Denies Request To Halt Same-Sex Marriages

Lining up to be married: Adam Chandler, 33, left, and Ivan Chandler, 38, both of Citrus Heights, were among those waiting in line Saturday to get married at San Francisco City Hall.

Only days after the Supreme Court used her lawsuit to grant same-sex couples federal marriage benefits, Edith Windsor helped lead New York City's Gay Pride march on Sunday.

On Sunday morning, Justice Anthony Kennedy denied a last-ditch request from the sponsors of Proposition 8 to halt the issuance of same-sex marriage licenses in the nation's most populous state.

New York City is where the first pride march was held 44 years ago to mark the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall Inn riots that kicked off the modern gay rights movement.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down Proposition 8 and also invalidated part of a 1996 federal law that denied spousal benefits to gay couples, making New York's Pride Parade especially festive.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg joined hundreds of bikers whose motorcycles roared to life at noon to kick off the celebration, a colorful cavalcade of activists and others who marched down Fifth Avenue.

"It is an especially thrilling year to march this year," said longtime LGBT activist Cathy Renna. "I have seen more real progress in the past three years than the nearly two decades of activism before it."

(Most recent update: 4:30 p.m. ET.)

Supporters of California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriages lost another argument Sunday when Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy turned down their request to at least temporarily bar such marriages in the state.

The Associated Press and Reuters report that Kennedy denied the petition "with no additional comment."

On Thursday, the court (with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion), ruled 5-4 that the proponents who came forward to defend Prop 8 after it was struck down by a lower court did not have the proper standing to bring the case to the High Court. So, in effect, the lower court ruling was allowed to stand.

The ruling has brought hundreds of same-sex couples to courthouses and city halls across California. As we wrote Saturday, it's "wedding weekend in San Francisco" and other places.

This weekend, Kennedy (to whom appeals of decisions from California are directed) was asked to put a stop to the weddings. Prop 8's supporters, as our colleagues at KQED reported, argued that because they have 25 days in which to ask the Supreme Court to reconsider its ruling, the marriages should be on hold for at least that long.

Kennedy disagreed. So, the marriages can continue. San Francisco's city hall will be among the places set to be open all Sunday for the ceremonies.

Meanwhile, previously scheduled gay pride marches are happening Sunday in cities across the nation. In New York City, the AP says, "the 84-year-old woman at the center of the U.S. Supreme Court decision granting gay couples federal marriage benefits is a grand marshal of New York City's gay pride march. Edith Windsor plans to walk up Fifth Avenue starting at noon Sunday."

Update at 4:30 p.m. ET. Some Gay Pride Headlines From Around The Nation:

-- "Pride March Participants Celebrate Major LGBT Wins In Supreme Court." (NY1)

-- "Thousands Celebrate At Gay Pride Events." (St. Louis Public Radio)

-- "Gay Pride Shines At Fest, Parade." (San Antonio Express-News)

-- "At S.F. Gay-Pride Parade, Crowds Celebrate A 'Breakthrough.' " (Los Angeles Times)

Update at 2:55 p.m. ET. Huge Crowd Expected At San Francisco Parade:

The annual gay pride parade in San Francisco "usually draws about 1 million people, but organizers expect the crowd to swell by 20% because of last week's court decisions," says the Los Angeles Times.

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Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit www.npr.org.

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