There is a lot happening . The legal arguments and the stakes in 11 easy pieces.
On Friday, the nine justices met to decide whether they will hear cases challenging the federal definition of marriage in the Defense of Marriage Act, California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex couples marrying and more.
Addressing marriage rights, the way the federal government treats married couples and the way the law treats gay, lesbian and bisexual people generally, these cases are important. "These are the most significant cases these nine Justices have ever considered, and probably that they will ever decide," SCOTUSblog's Tom Goldstein wrote on Friday.
Image by Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP
They almost certainly will hear at least one of the DOMA cases, like Edith Windsor's challenge, because two federal appeals courts have said the law is unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court will want to resolve that inconsistency.
Image by Richard Drew, File / AP
The justices also could hear the challenge to California's Proposition 8 brought by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, but it also could do two other things.
It could deny the appeal, which would put into effect the appeals court decision striking down the initiative and allow same-sex couples to resume marrying in the state, or it could hold the case until it reaches a decision on DOMA.
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Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has asked the court to hear an appeal of a decision stopping the state from enforcing a new law that would end domestic partner benefits for state employees. Same-sex couples sued and won below.
Image by Darryl Webb / Reuters