A group of same-sex couples and gay rights groups have appealed to California’s Supreme Court to decide on the legality of the state’s same-sex marriages.

The appeal came after a previous attempt to overturn a judge’s decision that the state was within its rights to outlaw same-sex marriages was defeated in October. The couples have the support of Equality California, Our Family Coalition, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, Lambda Legal and the American Civil Liberties Union.

But the San Francisco Chronicle reported this week one of the main challengers, Lancy Woo and Christy Chung, a couple of 18 years with a young daughter, had recently separated and would take part in the legal challenge.

We are no longer plaintiffs in this lawsuit because, after 18 years, we have made the difficult decision to separate, the couple said in a prepared statement released to media outlets.

We remain fully committed to the principle that couples should be able to marry without regard to their sexual orientation, and we have been honoured to be a part of this historic litigation.

Attorneys representing the group of same-sex couples told the Chronicle the separation would have no effect on the case.

The couple were the third high-profile same-sex partnership to end in recent months. Julie and Hillary Goodridge, lead plaintiffs in the successful Massachusetts marriage legal battle, separated in July.

And Carolyn Conrad and Kathleen Peterson, the Vermont couple who entered into the US’s first civil union, broke up in August.

The seven Californian Supreme Court justices have 90 days to decide whether or not they will hear the appeal.

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