The U.S. Supreme Court will hear two cases on gay marriage this week, providing the first rulings from the highest court on the critical social issue.
The court will decide whether the Constitution affords the same right to marriage to same-sex couples as it does to heterosexual couples.
The two cases address California's Prop 8, a state constitution ban on same-sex marriage, and the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal act passed in 1996 that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
The two cases have inspired "friend of the court" briefs from numerous organizations taking positions on both sides. Among those advocating for gay rights are two NFL players, Brendan Ayanbadejo and Chris Kluwe, as well as actor Clint Eastwood and corporations Apple, Nike and Verizon. Those against gay marriage include 20 of the 38 states with laws or constitutional amendments against gay marriage and the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
See the story at NBC News.