With Thermos bottles, sleeping bags and a few good books, about a dozen people lined up Friday to be among the first to attend oral arguments at the US Supreme Court on gay marriage.

Never mind that the hearings don't begin until next Tuesday. They said they were determined to have front-row seats at one of the year's most anticipated sessions of the highest court in the nation.

"I have gay friends and I'm here to support them," a local resident who gave his name only as Rick told AFP, even if that means braving freezing overnight temperatures and a forecast of snow on Monday.

Overnight line-ups outside the Supreme Court sessions are not unusual, but queueing over four days is exceptional. Friday's group included both supporters and opponents of same-sex marriage.