The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in two pending same-sex marriage cases on March 26 and March 27.
The justices slotted arguments in Hollingsworth v. Perry, a challenge involving California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage, for March 26, and in U.S. v. Windsor, concerning the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), on March 27.
Last year, beginning on March 26, the Court heard an extraordinary three days of arguments on the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Those arguments drew a packed courtroom and demonstrations outside of the Court's building. The same-sex marriage arguments are likely to draw as much attention.
In the Perry case, supporters of Prop. 8 challenge a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. They ask the justices whether the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause prohibits a state from defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman. In Windsor, the justices will decide whether Section 3 of DOMA, establishing that marriage, for all federal purposes, is the union between a man and woman, violates the Fifth Amendment's equal protection guarantee.
The justices also have asked lawyers in both cases to brief and argue standing questions in their cases.
In announcing the March calendar of arguments, the justices did not indicate that the two cases would receive more than the traditional one hour of argument time.