1 Dec 2012

Decision on same sex marriage case hearing deferred

1:24 pm on 1 December 2012

The nine justices of the US Supreme Court have put off until next week a decision on whether to consider the constitutionality of same-sex marriage.

The Supreme Court met on Friday to discuss cases to be heard, including a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act that outlaws gay marriage.

The 1996 federal law states that marriage can be only between a man and a woman. DOMA has been overturned by four federal courts and two courts of appeal.

Any cases chosen by the Supreme Court would be heard by spring and a ruling made by the end of June 2013.

The BBC reports 31 states have passed constitutional amendments banning gay marriage. Washington DC and nine states have legalised it, three of them in the recent elections on 6 November.