Supreme Court Will Hear Gay Marriage Cases

Anti-gay protesters picket near a gay pride flag at the ceremony of lesbian couple Robin Tyler and Diane Olson after they were married in the first legally recognized same-sex marriage in Los Angeles County, June 16, 2008.

Protesters picket near a gay pride flag at the ceremony of lesbian couple Robin Tyler and Diane Olson after they were married in the first legally recognized same-sex marriage in Los Angeles, June 16, 2008.

Associated Press + More

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court will take up California's ban on same-sex marriage, a case that could give the justices the chance to rule on whether gay Americans have the same constitutional right to marry as heterosexuals.

[PHOTOS: Couples Line up at Midnight for Gay Marriage Licenses]

The justices said Monday they will review a federal appeals court ruling that struck down the state's gay marriage ban, though on narrow grounds. The San Francisco-based appeals court said the state could not take away the same-sex marriage right that had been granted by California's Supreme Court.

The court also will decide whether Congress can deprive legally married gay couples of federal benefits otherwise available to married people. A provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act limits a range of health and pension benefits, as well as favorable tax treatment, to heterosexual couples.

More News:

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.