Judges and lawyers representing same-sex couples are already using Justice Anthony Kennedy's opinion striking down part of a federal anti-gay marriage law in other cases about the right to marry -- despite Kennedy's insistence the ruling was limited.

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It's a predictable next step in a long-term, incremental legal strategy being used at the state and federal levels, and in legislatures, executive mansions and courts, to build public and official acceptance of gay marriage.

Much the same approach was used decades ago by civil rights lawyers fighting state-sanctioned discrimination, with one decision helping lead to the next.

The legal director of the gay rights group Lambda Legal says it doesn't take much creativity to reframe Kennedy's opinion to challenge state bans on same-sex marriage.


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