The court battle to overturn California's infamous Proposition 8, a voter-approved initiative that effectively banned gay marriage in 2008, has been long and grueling.

Every decision that comes down from a judge (or panel of judges) plants a little hope in the hearts of same-sex couples up and down the Golden State — only to be crushed by another petty appeal from the bigoted “Protect Marriage” camp.

Which brings us to today's big victory:

OK, we know we've said that word before. But now that the the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is refusing to reconsider a February decision in favor of same-sex marriage, Protect Marriage only has one single shot left at keeping Prop. 8 alive.

The group, which has been fighting like a pack of rabid pitbulls from the beginning, can't be expected to stop now. In the 90-day window ahead of them, they'll almost surely take Prop. 8 to the highest court of law: The U.S. Supreme Court.

From there, the Supreme Court can do one of three things:

1) It can refuse to hear the case, in which case Prop. 8 is overturned and we all run off happily into the sunset.

2) It can agree with the Ninth Circuit, in which case Prop. 8 is overturned and we all run off happily into the sunset.

3) It can agree with the Protect Marriage nutjobs, and we can take a giant step back in the largest remaining civil-rights fight in America, even though history has shown that equality will eventually triumph and this is all a huge waste of time.

Here's an awesome infographic to iron out all this court-to-court confusion, courtesy of the American Foundation for Equal Rights:

Credit: AFER

Credit: AFER

“Today's order is yet another federal court victory for loving, committed gay and lesbian couples in California and around the nation,'' says AFER co-founder Chad Griffin in a statement today. “The final chapter of the Prop. 8 case has now begun. Should the U.S. Supreme Court decide to review the Ninth Circuit's decision in our case, I am confident that the justices will stand on the side of fairness and equality.''

Perfect timing: Obama's in town tomorrow to celebrate his new $tance on $ame-$ex marriage with L.A.'s wealthiest gays. Can we get some Prop. 8 promises while he's at it?

[@simone_electra / / @LAWeeklyNews]

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