Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage cases, decide on federal law by June

by Staff |

WASHINGTON (Christian Examiner) -- The U.S. Supreme Court decided Friday to hear a case about whether states can ban same-sex marriage, and the court should come to a decision by the end of June, according to reports. Traditional marriage is currently being upheld in 14 states. The court will hear cases concerning Michigan, Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee, which could see the definition of marriage changed to include gay couples across the country.

The court is set to decide whether states must allow same-sex couples to marry and whether states must recognize same-sex marriages that take place out-of-state. Attorneys on both sides of the debate are preparing two and a half hours of oral arguments, which the court will hear in April.

The Obama administration will file court papers supporting same-sex marriage and the plaintiffs filing the suit.

The string of states changing the definition of marriage began in June 2013 when the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act for the purpose of federal benefits. Obama's Justice Department refused to defend the law. As plaintiffs steadily selected more liberal judges to bring their cases forward, courts around the country parroted the language of the Supreme Court's decision to change state laws.

At the time of the 2013 ruling, only 12 U.S. states had authorized gay marriage. It is now legal in 36 states.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, a Republican defending the state's ban, welcomed the Supreme Court's announcement, saying the state and nation "will be well served" by a definitive ruling.

He stands with conservatives and Christians who continue to support the biblical idea that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, also opposes same-sex marriage. He is hopeful the court will rule "in favor of voters' right to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman," he told Reuters.

Reuters contributed to this report.