Supreme Court will tackle same-sex marriage
The Supreme Court is going to tackle the contentious issue of same-sex marriage and hear two constitutional challenges to state and federal laws dealing with the recognition of gay and lesbian couples to legally wed, our Supreme Court producer Bill Mears reports.
CNN's senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin put the case in perspective: "This is a major event in American history, not just in Supreme Court history. The Supreme Court is not just going to decide whether the Defense of Marriage Act is constitutional, they are also going to decide whether Proposition 8 in California –whether the ban on same-sex marriage there is unconstitutional and that could affect all 50 states."
The court put out a one-page order this afternoon on what is set to become one of the most important cases in the court's history.
Last month, voters in three states approved same-sex marriages. And just yesterday one of those states, Washington, started issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
Oral arguments in the high court appeal will likely be held in March, with a ruling by late June.
The appeals to be heard involve the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples legally married in their own state, and a challenge to California's Proposition 8, a voter-approved referendum that took away the right of same sex-marriage that previously had been approved by the state's courts. Read more about these cases.