Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage case – Josh Gerstein – POLITICO

Supreme Court Hears Arguments On California's Prop 8 And Defense Of Marriage Act

The Supreme Court agreed Friday to decide whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to enter into same-sex marriages.

The high-profile case has the potential to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states or to roll the practice back by overturning a series of federal court rulings that have dramatically expanded the availability of same-sex unions in the past year-and-a-half.

In an order Friday afternoon, the court announced that it granted four petitions seeking a review of a federal appeals court ruling in November that found there is no federal right to same-sex-marriage.

The issue is likely to be argued at the high court in late April and decided before the court’s current term ends in June.

The Supreme Court’s timing could be a double-edged sword for Republican politicians, many of whom have been caught between a dramatic change in public opinion in favor of same-sex marriage right and the views of the party’s socially-conservative base, which remains opposed to such unions.

The court’s schedule seems certain to raise the profile of the issue dramatically in the coming months, just as the presidential contests in both major parties are getting underway. However, a decision by June of this year — especially one that finds a federal right to same-sex marriage — has the potential to clear the issue off the national agenda before the parties settle on their nominees and before most Americans tune in to the presidential race.

“It could potentially defuse this issue — if not defuse it, at least lessen its importance — before the GOP really gets rolling in its primary season,” said Gregory Angelo of the Log Cabin Republicans, whose group supports same-sex marriage rights. “This is an issue that those in the know in the GOP understand is not a winning issue for the party.”

Some Republicans feared the high court might wait until next term to dig into the issue, kicking up the profile of same-sex marriage rights right in the middle of the presidential race.

Read complete article via Supreme Court to hear same-sex marriage case – Josh Gerstein – POLITICO.