US SC to take up gay marriage issue
The Supreme Court agreed Friday to rule whether same-sex couples across the United States should have the right to marry, setting the stage for a final historic decision.
The court said it would hold a hearing in April to study whether the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a same-sex marriage, and whether a state is required to recognize same-sex marriages which took place out-of-state.
In a landmark decision in June 2013, the Supreme Court struck down a law denying federal benefits to homosexual couples by defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
In doing so, it cleared the way for married gay and lesbian couples to enjoy the same rights and privileges under federal law as their straight counterparts.
But it stopped short of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, leaving that question to the states.
At that time, only 12 states plus the capital Washington recognized same-sex marriages.
Since then, a patchwork legalization of same-sex marriage has rolled out across America, with 36 states now allowing it.