The Supreme Court will take up California's ban on same-sex marriage, a case that could give the justices the chance to rule on whether gay Americans have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals. The justices said today they will review a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the state's ban on same-sex weddings, though on narrow grounds.
The court also will decide whether Congress can deprive legally married gay couples of federal benefits otherwise available to married people. A provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act limits a range of health and pension benefits, as well as favorable tax treatment, to heterosexual couples. The cases probably will be argued in March, with decisions expected by late June.