The wait is over: The Supreme Court announced this afternoon that it will take up the issue of gay marriage this term, agreeing to hear a pair of cases that addresses the matter on both the state and federal level.
One stems from California's Proposition 8 voter-approved ban on same-sex marriages; the second is from New York and challenges the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Oral arguments are expected in March, with a ruling by late June.
The New York Times with the instant analysis:
One of the cases, from California, could establish or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. Another case, from New York, challenges a federal law that requires the federal government to deny benefits to gay and lesbian couples married in states that allow such unions.
The court’s move comes against the backdrop of a rapid shift in public attitudes about same-sex marriage, with recent polls indicating that a majority of Americans support allowing such unions. After last month’s elections, the number of states authorizing same-sex marriage increased by half, to nine.
Slate's Emily Bazelon will have more on the decision and what it means shortly. In the meantime you can check out her breakdown of the cases the court had to choose from here.