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.
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.