Just two years ago, the Supreme Court struck down part of the federal anti-gay marriage law that denied a range of government benefits to legally married same-sex couples.
The decision did not address the validity of state marriage bans. But courts across the country, with few exceptions, said the ruling's logic compelled them to invalidate state laws that prohibited gay and lesbian couples from marrying.
The number of states allowing same-sex marriage has grown rapidly.
As recently as October, just over one-third of the states permitted same-sex marriage. Now, same-sex couples can marry in 36 states and the District of Columbia.
This week, a local couple is at the center of the gay marriage debate.
April DeBoer and Jane Rowse are challenging the bans on gay marriage and joint adoption in Michigan. They have adopted four children, which was bittersweet because they could not adopt jointly because of Michigan law that says only married people can jointly adopt. But, since gay people can't marry in Michigan, DeBoer and Rowse can't adopt jointly.
Their case started focusing on the joint adoption, but turned into a same-sex marriage case. And after a trial in March, Judge Bernard Friedman ruled Michigan's ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional.
But that was short-lived. Three hundred couples got married, but then the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a stay - then overturned that ruling.
Now, the Supreme Court takes the case to make a decision once and for all.
Gov. Rich Snyder who is listed a defendant in the case, has said in a statement:
"We appreciate that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an issue that has been divisive in our state and others. It's important for the same-sex marriage question to be resolved once and for all at the highest level. I will respect the decision of the court on an issue that has stirred passionate discussion and hope that Michiganders, and others across our country, can come together as we move forward."
FOX 2's Amy Lange will be live in Washington during the hearings. Stay with FOX 2 for her coverage.
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