WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two big cases addressing marriage rights for gays and lesbians are on track to reach the U.S. Supreme Court as soon as this year, keeping the focus on an issue President Barack Obama reignited with his endorsement this week.
The cases, originating on Jopposite coasts, go to the heart of a question that has churned for two decades: whether states and the federal government may refuse to recognize same-sex marriage.
How the high court would rule is impossible to know. In the court's most recent gay-rights case, the justices in 2003 struck down state anti-sodomy laws as an improper intrusion on private activity.
Lawyers for California same-sex couples are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to end its involvement, which would clear the way for a request for the Supreme Court to settle the issue.