WASHINGTON -- December 8, 2012
The Supreme Court is taking a potentially historic look at same-sex marriage by agreeing to hear two cases that challenge governments' different treatment of gay Americans.
The focus in one case is California's constitutional amendment that forbids same-sex marriage. The other case deals with a federal law that denies to those who can marry legally the right to obtain federal benefits that are available to heterosexual married couples.
Supreme Court cases often take twists and turns that limit the scope of the eventual decision. But the justices' action on Friday gives them the chance to say whether gay Americans have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals.
The same-sex marriage cases likely will be argued in March with a decision likely by the end of June.
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