The Supreme Court will meet behind closed doors Friday on whether to hear cases that could lead to a more comprehensive ruling on the divisive issue of same-sex marriage.
The pivotal meeting of the nine justices comes the same week that gays and lesbians began tying the knot in Florida, the 36th state to recognize marriage equality, along with the capital Washington.
Opinion polls suggest a majority of Americans accept same-sex marriage, but opposition among conservatives and some faith groups, including the Catholic Church, remains strong.
The top court will consider if it should hear cases that address whether individual states have the right to ban same-sex marriages, or if such bans are unconstitutional.
Same-sex unions in Florida, with its huge swath of southern rural conservatism juxtaposed by large areas of urban liberalism, met with years of resistance before finally being allowed this week.
“With Florida, 70 percent of Americans, more than 216 million people, will live in a marriage equality state,” said Chad Griffin, who leads Human Rights Campaign, the largest gay and lesbian rights group.