Lesbian couple hope to wed after US ruling

A lesbian couple whose case will go before the US Supreme Court next week say they plan to marry "as soon as we can" if America's top tribunal decides in their favor.

Kris Perry and Sandy Stier are one of two gay couples from California whose legal fight to overturn the state's same-sex marriage ban has ended up in the the Supreme Court in Washington DC.

"When we started out what we really hoped to do is have Proposition 8 repealed," said Perry, referring to the measure approved by referendum in 2008 which outlawed gay marriage in California.

"And the fact that we ended up in the highest court wasn't really the intention, it wasn't really expected, but here we are.

"And so, for a family, it's an important struggle, there has been sacrifice and at the same time it's a huge honor," she added during a press conference in San Francisco.

"Proposition 8 has been a really harmful and difficult chapter in our life."

President Barack Obama last month threw his weight behind them when his administration filed a brief with the Supreme Court opposing California's bid to ban same-sex unions.

The US Department of Justice filed a brief to the court, arguing that Prop 8 violates the 14th Amendment to the Constitution which guarantees citizens equal rights.

Perry and Stier have been together for 13 years and have four sons. Perry is head of the First Five Years Fund, a body that invests in early childhood education programs for disadvantaged children.

They live in Berkeley, just outside San Francisco, and first tried to marry in 2004.

"Marriage means a great deal to me and to both of us. It's important for our families... it's important for our community and it's important for us to fit in that community like our colleagues do," said Stier.

"I think I would personally feel a greater sense of long-term stability."

Perry said: "We are optimistic because the Court has recognized 14 times that marriage is a fundamental right and that's what we're arguing here, that it's a fundamental right for us to be married.

"As well as the fact that the country on the whole has shifted over time to be more accepting and wanting more fairness and equality."

Stier added: "If we win, we are going to get married as soon as we can, and we're looking for that day very much. And then we're just gonna keep doing what we've been doing, just having our family and living our lives.

"But it will be a lovely experience, just knowing that not only we could get married but looking around and seeing other people knowing they can too, and seeing younger people growing up and falling in love, knowing that they have the same option that everybody else does."

The other couple whose case will be considered by Supreme Court judges on Tuesday are Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, who live in Burbank, just outside Los Angeles in southern California.

They have been together for 12 years, and have been seeking to marry for two years.

Both couples will travel to Washington for the Supreme Court hearing.