The U.S. Supreme Court has decided to take up challenges next year to two crucial bills concerning same-sex marriage, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and California's Proposition 8, it was announced on Friday.
The LA Times reported that the justices said they will also decide on whether same-sex couples who have been legally married will have the right to the same benefits as straight couples under federal law.
"Marriage between a man and a woman is a universal good that diverse cultures and faiths have honored throughout the history of Western Civilization. Marriage expresses the truth that men and women bring distinct, irreplaceable gifts to family life," Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jim Campbell said of the news in a press release shared with The Christian Post.
"The ProtectMarriage.com legal team looks forward to advocating before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of the people's right to preserve this fundamental building block of civilization," he added.
Although there were as many as 10 gay marriage-related cases the Supreme Court was considering, DOMA and Prop 8. are the most well-known and have the farthest reaching consequences.
DOMA was signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1996 and seeks to preserve the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman, but current President Barack Obama has said he will not be supporting it. A New York court also ruled DOMA unconstitutional earlier this year, saying that married same-sex couples should not be denied the same federal benefits as straight couples.
Prop 8., on the other hand, is the 2008 California voter referendum that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman, putting a ban on same-sex marriage in the state for the time being. It also has been ruled unconstitutional, however, and its challengers say that marriage is the fundamental right of all people regardless of their sexual orientation.
Gay marriage advocates scored a number of victories during the November General Elections when Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington brought the number of U.S. states where same-sex marriage is legal to 11. This was also the first time voters had decided to redefine marriage.
The Supreme Court's decisions on DOMA and Prop. 8 next year are expected to have far-reaching consequences and play a major factor in the future of marriage in the U.S.