U.S. Supreme Court to take up California same-sex marriage ban
Gay couple Tara Walsh, left, and Wen Minkoff embrace outside City Hall in San Francisco. (AP / Ben Margot)
Published Friday, December 7, 2012 3:47PM EST
Last Updated Friday, December 7, 2012 10:55PM EST
WASHINGTON - 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.
The justices said Friday 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 Defence of Marriage Act limits a range of health and pension benefits, as well as favourable tax treatment, to heterosexual couples.