An unprecedented civil trial targeting the constitutionality of Proposition 8 began Monday in California and is said to continue over the next several weeks. Mercury News said:

Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker heard opening statements from both sides in the closely watched, historic legal showdown over Proposition 8, the voter-approved 2008 law restoring California's ban on same-sex marriage. And he then listened intently as two California gay couples recounted their stories, which they hope will serve as the emotional underpinnings of the federal constitutional challenge to Prop. 8.

The trial that is expected to stretch for several weeks unfolded through the day in a high-stakes atmosphere. The lawyers on both sides, famous nationally, sparred with the judge and fielded his pointed questions. The courtroom was packed with lawyers, media members and others. Outside the courthouse, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in the morning fog, rallying for and against same-sex marriage.

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