By Stephanie Condon
It could define same-sex marriage as a constitutionally-protected right, or it could uphold the ban, setting back the gay rights movement for years. The case, however, isn’t as simple as deciding whether or not same-sex couples have a right to get married.
After the Supreme Court today hears the oral arguments in the caseHollingsworth v. Perry, it has five options to choose from. Below is a rundown of the court’s choices — whether to protect the right to same-sex marriage in 50 states, zero states, nine states or one state. There’s one last option — to punt on the decision and dismiss the case.
In the most dramatic ruling it could deliver, the Supreme Court could useHollingsworth v. Perry to rule that marriage is a constitutional right available to all Americans, gay or straight.
As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in two high-profile cases this week – California’s Proposition 8 and the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act – 60 percent of Americans think the federal government should legally recognize existing same-sex marriages and provide them the same federal benefits the government provides to heterosexual married couples. Just 35 percent do not think the government should do this.
The legality of same-sex marriage varies by state. When it comes to who should decide this issue, most Americans- 62 percent – think the decision should be left up to each individual state government, while just 26 percent think it should be up to the federal government.
Meanwhile, a slight majority of Americans (53 percent) thinks it should be legal for same-sex couples to marry.
By Michael O’Brien, Political Reporter, NBC News
The Senate will take up a new bill next month intended to require background checks for every firearm purchase in the country — and proponents of the legislation are girding for a major political showdown against supporters of gun rights and its principal advocacy group, the National Rifle Association.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has emerged as one of the most forceful national backers of stricter gun laws, and this weekend launched a $12 million television ad campaign meant to pressure wavering senators to support the new legislation when they return from their holiday break. FULL ARTICLE
The Affordable Care Act has been law of the land for three years now — President Obama signed the legislation on March 23, 2010 — but it remains a source of controversy and mystery for many Americans. Meanwhile, some of the most significant parts of the law have yet to take effect.
Three years after the enactment of Obamacare, here’s a look at some key figures that shed light on the status of the law’s implementation, its impact on the nation and public opinion. FULL ARTICLE