SANTA CRUZ, Calif.- Supporters of same-sex marriage honk and cheer in Santa Cruz to rally in support of equal rights. They said there's one group that could be key in deciding what's next in the push for marriage equality: the younger generation.
We've been following the debate as U.S. Supreme Court justices heard two separate cases about gay marriage over the last two days. On Tuesday, the court considered the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8. Prop 8 was a ballot measure, passed in 2008, banning same-sex marriage. Then on Wednesday, the justices heard a second case focusing on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act.
Also on Wednesday, people lined the steps of the Santa Cruz County Courthouse, to protest Prop 8. Many of them were noticeable young. Some of the older folks at the rally said they're seeing more and more kids in their teens and even younger, becoming a part of the conversation.
"I've seen so many happy couples in my life and I've been to so many different weddings and I couldn't have one of those," said 17-year-old Molly Judd.
Molly talked about how she wants the same rights as her straight friends. She's not alone. 13-year-old Lindsey Wildman said she's also watching to see what the Supreme Court will decide. But not everyone is on the same page as Molly and Lindsey. A recent CBS poll found 53% of Americans support gay marriage, which means a large percentage don't. If the justices decide Prop 8 is unconstitutional, it could change the way Molly and Lindsey see their future.
"Young folks in the U.S., in California and especially right here on the Central Coast support marriage equality overwhelmingly compared to the older generations," said political activist Glen Schaller.
Schaller thinks the Supreme Court is paying attention to younger voices because teens are the ones who will soon be able to vote.
"Well they will have a huge impact and have already had a huge impact on those states that have passed marriage equality on the ballot," Schaller said.
Just two years ago, California passed a law saying teachers must include gay history into their lessons plans. Last year there was an effort to undo that law, but it failed.