Washington (CNN) - The Supreme Court will tackle the contentious issue of same-sex marriage and hear two constitutional challenges to state and federal laws dealing with the recognition of gay and lesbian couples to legally wed.
In a one-page order on Friday, the court took on what will be one of the most important issues in its history. The decision to review the matter came just weeks after voters approved same-sex marriage in three states.
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Oral arguments will likely be held in March with a ruling by late June.
One appeal to be heard involves the federal Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, which denies federal benefits to same-sex couples legally married in their own state.
The second is a challenge to California's Proposition 8, a voter-approved referendum that took away the right of same-sex marriage that previously had been approved by the state's courts.