Court agrees to hear arguments on two key cases.
The U.S. Supreme Court is getting into the volatile same-sex marriage debate and will decide if there's anything unconstitutional about the state laws that allow or forbid it.
The decision by the court to look at same-sex marriage is of special interest to California, where such marriages were approved in 2008 only to be banned later that year through a controversial state wide referendum known as Proposition 8.
The high court will decide whether it agrees with a lower court ruling earlier this year that struck down Prop 8 because as the lower court said, it "serves no purpose, has no effect other than lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians".
The Supreme Court also agreed to hear a challenge to the Federal Defense Of Marriage Act, known as "DOMA", passed by overwhelming margins in both houses of Congress in 1996 and signed by President Clinton.
A provision of the law specifies that for federal purposes "the word 'marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife."
Oral arguments are expected before the court in March with a decision by next June.