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Lawyers on both sides have said that if they lose in front of the 9th Circuit, they will take the case to the Supreme Court.

Law schools across the country held public viewings of the appeals hearing, from the University of Kansas to the University of California’s Hastings College of the Law, just down the street from the federal courthouse.

Residents of San Francisco’s Castro District, the hub of the city’s gay community, were gathering at a neighborhood community center to watch the proceedings.

In 1996, the nation’s appeals courts were allowed to decide for themselves whether to allow cameras at argument sessions. So far, appeals courts in New York and San Francisco have permitted such coverage.

The Supreme Court does not permit cameras, and several justices have expressed their strong opposition to the idea.

Since the Bush v. Gore case on the 2000 presidential election, the Supreme Court has released audio recordings shortly after arguments in some high-profile cases.

Associated Press writer Paul Elias contributed to this report.