Supreme Court Will Hear Two Gay Marriage Cases

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The U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear two cases in March dealing with gay marriage.

The justices announced they will take on California's ban on same-sex marriage, known as Prop 8 and another case involving the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

 The big question remains: will the court decide to make gay marriage a legal right in all 50 states?

This week, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples have been getting marriage licenses in Washington State, after the state's governor signed a law approved by the voters that legalizes homosexual marriage. The state has a three-day waiting period before weddings can take place.

The stakes are high in the fight for marriage at the Supreme Court. Watch Mark Martin's report, as seen on CBN Newswatch, Dec. 6.

"We have the license; three days -- I think we can make it another three days," one woman in Washington said.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have re-defined marriage. Many are waiting to see if the Supreme Court follow suit.

The Court's decision on the two major cases could have a far-reaching impact on the definition of marriage in the United States.

What could the fallout be from a Supreme Court ruling on these cases? Peter Sprigg, senior fellow at the Family Research Center, has more on what could happen with these cases.

DOMA defines marriage for all purposes, including federal benefits, as between a man and a woman. Four federal district courts and two appeals courts have overturned it.

Pro-family advocates say the stakes are high.

"This is fundamentally a religious liberty question," Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, told CBN News.

"Redefine marriage, you redefine it for everyone, and the law will be used to punish and marginalize those of us that believe marriage is the union of a man and a woman. It's already happening," he said.

If the Supreme Court does strike down DOMA, same-sex marriage advocates say the decision would send a message that all marriages are equal under the law.

On Prop 8 in California, two federal courts have struck it down as discriminatory.

"We're not fighting a battle against gay individuals," Frank Schubert, the traditional marriage advocate who ran the successful campaign to pass Prop 8, told CBN News.

"We're all children of God. We respect and love everyone, but marriage is something that God created to bring men and women together and to protect children," he said.

Voters in 31 states have amended their constitutions to prohibit homosexual marriage, with North Carolina being the most recent in May.

Trying to build on recent wins at the ballot box, gay marriage supporters are now targeting several states for voting drives, including New Jersey, Delaware, Illinois, and Rhode Island.

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Mark Martin is a reporter and anchor at CBN News, covering various issues from military matters to alternative fuels. Mark has reported internationally in the Middle East and traveled to Bahrain to cover stories on the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Follow Mark on Twitter @MarkMartinCBN and "like" him at Facebook.com/MarkMartinCBN.