Currently, 36 states and the District of Columbia recognize gay marriage.
“It's overwhelming, that's what I'm going to say is this is just so overwhelming and we are incredibly grateful,” Jayne Rowse, same-sex marriage supporter, said.
Lower federal courts nationally are split on the issue, which some analysts says may be why the Supreme Court is taking this on.
“We will now have, at least it look like we will have, a definitive decision from the Supreme Court on whether the right of same-sex couples to get married is a protected federal constitutional right,” Western New England University Law Professor Bruce Miller said.
If the court does not recognize gay marriage nationally, Miller says it doesn't mean marriages recognized so far will be gone.
“What it will mean, instead, is that gay marriage will be a state by state decision,” he said.
The Obama Administration is urging the court to make marriage equality a reality for all Americans, while advocates against gay marriage want the court to let the political process play out. Whatever the decision, Miller says, it will be historic.
“No one could've imagined in 1984, when it was basically a crime to engage in same-sex sexually activity, that this could change in a generation and it has,” Miller said.
The case will be argued in April and a decision is expected by late June.
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