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Key justice: ‘Immediate injury’ in gay marriage ban

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, often pegged as a key swing-vote between the court's conservative and liberal blocs, has signaled that children of same-sex couples suffer an "immediate legal injury" from California's ban on gay marriage, according to an account of the high court's oral arguments provided by Bloomberg News.

While protesters chanted, prayed and waved signs outside, the justices are hearing a one-hour argument on Proposition 8 — the California ballot initiative that effectively prohibits gay marriage, even though residents once enjoyed the right in the Golden State.

Early prognostication of how the high court will rule — especially based on oral arguments — is tricky business, after at least one major news outlet initially misreported the result of last June's "Obamacare" ruling.

Justices are hearing arguments on California's ban today, but will not decide the case until June or so. The same is true for their consideration of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — a law that prohibits gay married couples from getting federal benefits — which will come before the court on Wednesday.

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