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Supreme Court’s gay marriage cases: What they’re about, what they could mean


WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday and Wednesday will confront two distinct gay marriage cases, which together pose some very ground-breaking questions. Here’s a rundown.

Q. What are the cases?

A. On Tuesday morning, the court has scheduled 60 minutes of oral argument in Hollingsworth v. Perry. This involves a challenge to California’s Proposition 8, a state constitutional amendment prohibiting same-sex marriages that voters adopted in 2008. Opponents challenged the law and a federal appeals court eventually ruled it to be unconstitutional. Supporters asked for the Supreme Court to review the ruling.

On Wednesday morning, the court has scheduled an unusually long 110 minutes of argument in United States v. Windsor. This case challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that prohibits myriad federal benefits from going to gay married couples.

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