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High court gay marriage tickets cost time, money

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm •  Published: March 25, 2013
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"I think there'll be a lot of my friends who will be very jealous," said Clarke, who intends to marry her partner in Massachusetts before they return to California, and said the Supreme Court's decision could be a "transformative moment" for the country.

Most of the people waiting in line are supporters of gay marriage. But opponents, too, said they intend to be at the court to watch.

Ken Klukowski, a lawyer at the Family Research Council and a professor at Liberty University School of Law in Virginia, says these cases are "not just major, not just blockbuster, but historic." Klukowski said he expects to be getting up in the middle of the night to get in the separate line for members of the Supreme Court bar.

"No one knows how early but ridiculously early," Klukowski said.

For those willing to pay to get in, several Washington services will hold a person's place in line. One company charges $36 per hour, another $50, meaning the cost of a 5-day line stander comes in at $6,000. John Winslow, the operations manager of Linestanding.com, which like most other line standing services is also a courier service, said his service would be holding places for 40 to 50 clients, a number of them lawyers. His group held about 35 places in line for the health care arguments last year, he said. Most people, he said, are starting their line stander 24 hours before, so they'll spend $864 to attend.

Linestanding.com's owner, Mark Gross, said for many of his clients, attending is personal.

"Health care was more about public policy and the direction that the country was going politically," Gross said. "But this really affects people in a personal way,"

Kate Kendell, the executive director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights in California, contacted Linestanding.com three weeks before the argument to secure her space. Kendell, a lawyer, said she tried to get into a Supreme Court case that involved gay rights in 1995. By the time she arrived at 3 a.m. on the day of the argument, she said, there were so many people she could only get in a line that allows people to watch three minutes of the argument. This time she isn't taking any chances.

"This is one of those experiences that I want to see firsthand. I want to see the faces of the justices. I want to hear their questions," she said.

She initially planned for her line stander to start at 4 a.m. Tuesday but has since moved the time up twice.

"All I care about is being in that courtroom and I'm pretty much willing to do whatever I have to do," Kendell said.

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Follow Jessica Gresko at http://twitter.com/jessicagresko