“U.S. Supreme Court looks at whether to take up same-sex marriage”

By Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer

The U.S. Supreme Court this month will begin considering several cases involving same-sex marriage, including one testing the constitutionality of California's Proposition 8, which says "only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California." Above, Frank Capley-Alfano and Joe Capley-Alfano celebrate outside of San Francisco City Hall in February after a federal appeals court blocked the law. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The U.S. Supreme Court this month will begin considering several cases involving same-sex marriage, including one testing the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8, which says “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.” Above, Frank Capley-Alfano and Joe Capley-Alfano celebrate outside of San Francisco City Hall in February after a federal appeals court blocked the law. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

(CNN) — Edith “EdieWindsor lost her spouse in 2009, her grief compounded by an estate tax bill much larger than other married couples would have to pay.
Because her decades-long partner was also a woman, the federal government in legal terms did not recognize the same-sex marriage, even though their home state of New York did.
“I was devastated by the loss of the great love of my life, and I was also very sick, then had to deal with pulling together enough money to pay for the taxes,” Windsor, 83, told CNN. “And it was deeply upsetting.”
That fundamental unfairness as Windsor and her supporters see it, is at the center of legal fight now awaiting action at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The justices will meet privately Friday for a closed-door conference to decide if they will accept any of 10 pending appeals, essentially over whether a fundamental constitutional right for gays and lesbians to marry exists.
If they agree to hear the issue, oral arguments would be likely be held in March with a ruling by late June.

The political, social, and legal stakes of this long-simmering debate will once again put the high court at the center of national attention, a contentious encore to their summer ruling upholding the massive health care reform law championed by President Barack Obama.

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