Big push to support gay marriage at high court

WASHINGTON (AP) — Prominent Republicans, retired military leaders and U.S. businesses are among the factions ready to ask the Supreme Court to support marriage equality in two cases up for argument next month.

The effort is being coordinated by gay rights groups and is designed to show the justices the rapid and widespread evolution of views about same-sex marriage, now legal in nine states and the District of Columbia. Religious leaders and labor groups are also weighing in.

The justices will hear the dispute over California's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage on March 26, followed a day later by a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act provision that denies legally married gay couples a range of federal benefits available to heterosexual married couples.

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