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. (Read more US Supreme Court stories.)