How has public opinion changed on same-sex marriage?
The number of Americans who say they support same-sex marriage has risen significantly over the past several years, according to a new a CNN/ORC International survey. While 40 percent of those polled in 2007 expressed support, the survey measured 53 percent support this month. The increase in support reflects a similar rise in the number of people who said they have a family member or close friend who is gay or lesbian.
How might the Supreme Court rule?
The legal team challenging Proposition 8 is calling for the Supreme Court to order a stop to marriage discrimination based on sexual orientation, calling it the "defining civil rights issue of our time." While gay rights groups hope the justices write a sweeping endorsement of marriage equality for homosexual couples, the high court could choose a narrow path.
The narrowest ruling might be to uphold the lower courts -- striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8 -- by deciding that the parties defending each do not have standing in the cases.
A side argument in the federal case centers on congressional Republicans taking up the cause after the Obama administration declined to defend the law. In the case of Proposition 8, a private group is defending the measure after the state government declined.
A rejection of those parties as defendants could skirt the central issues of same-sex marriage rights.
The justices could strike down DOMA's limits on federal recognition of same-sex marriage without upholding Proposition 8 and knocking down state-approved same-sex marriage bans. Or, they could decide that DOMA and Proposition 8 are both acceptable as they are, leaving the question of same-sex marriage to the political system.