WASHINGTON, D.C.–

On Friday, the Supreme Court announced it would rule on the legality of gay marriage once and for all.

In 2 ½ hours of oral arguments in April, the justices will consider four cases from Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. In late June, the court will issue a ruling for the consolidated cases.

Pride Parade FlagThe court’s decision will answer the critical question of the homosexual debate: whether gays and lesbians have a constitutional right to marry, or whether states have the right to ban the practice.

The court will also consider whether states must recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.

Parties on both sides of the issue remain optimistic for the ruling’s outcome.

“This is the beginning of the end game on the freedom to marry,” American Civil Liberties Union leader James Esseks told USA Today.

While the 2013 case of United States v. Windsor forced the federal government to recognize gay marriages, the upcoming cases promise to become even more of a pivotal landmark.

“The U.S. Supreme Court now has the opportunity to issue a long-overdue ruling to restore the freedom of the people to uphold marriage in their state laws as the union of a man and a woman,” Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told USA Today. “Lower court judges have robbed millions of people of their voice and vote on society’s most fundamental relationship – marriage.”

In 2014, Oregon became the 19th state to allow gay and lesbian couples to marry. Just last week, Florida became the 36th state to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, leaving fourteen states prohibiting same-sex marriage.

When not writing, Sierra can be found conducting experiments in the chemistry lab or whipping up delectable creations in her kitchen. With a passion for storytelling, Sierra puts her natural curiosity to use investigating enlightening angles for news and events here at The Oregon Optimist.