US Supreme Court schedules two day hearing for same-sex marriage cases

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

The US Supreme Court has announced that it will hear two days of arguments relating to same-sex marriage at the end of March.

Last year, the court agreed to take up two cases one relating to the Californian constitutional amendment, Prop 8, that sought to ban same-sex marriage and another case that revolves around the rights of same-sex couples to receive federal benefits that opposite sex couples are entitled to.

The second case revolves around the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, passed under President Bill Clinton in 1996. President Obama has already stated that his administration will not defend cases brought against it.

Several lower district courts have already ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional.

A provision of DOMA limits a range of health and pension benefits, as well as favorable tax treatment, to heterosexual couples.

Proposition 8, a constitutional amendment, overturned a law passed in California to allow same-sex marriage.

Friday’s announcement comes after a brief period of delay where the court failed to make a decision.

The justices will consider whether Prop 8 violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the US Constitution.