The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review two same-sex marriage cases this term.
One case, Perry v. Brown, seeks to overturn California's voter-approved Proposition 8, which amended the state constitution to limit marriage to opposite-sex couples. The other case, Windsor v. United States, challenges the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman. Because of DOMA, the surviving spouse in the case was required to pay federal taxes on property left her by her same-sex spouse, where opposite-sex couples are exempt under the marriage deduction.
In both cases, lower courts ruled that the measure in question was unconstitutional because it violated the due process and/or equal protection rights of same-sex couples. Nine states and the District of Columbia currently recognize same-sex marriage as legal.