The Court will decide if all 50 states must allow gay and lesbian couples to marry

By Sheila Cosgrove Baylis
Updated January 16, 2015 06:00 PM
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Supreme Court building
| Credit: Carolyn Kaster/AP

The Supreme Court announced Friday that it will decide whether all 50 states must allow same-sex couples to marry.

In April, the justices will consider challenges to same-sex marriage bans from four states – Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee – consolidated into a single case. The Court will determine if the U.S. Constitution protects gay and lesbian couples’ right to marriage, resolving the legal question within the national debate.

The Court avoided the issue in October by refusing to consider appeals to same-sex marriage laws in five states.

A ruling in favor of gay marriage would compel all states to recognize same-sex marriages as legal, while a ruling against would cause thousands of marriages to be in legal limbo.

The ruling will be issued in late June, which is when many cities’ LGBTQ Pride celebrations take place.

Currently 36 states and the District of Columbia allow gay and lesbian couples to marry.