Q&A: A look at the Supreme Court's range of options on gay marriage

Published: Sunday, June 23 2013 12:57 p.m. MDT

Associated Press
The waiting is almost over.

Sometime in the next week or so, the Supreme Court will announce the outcomes in cases on California's Proposition 8 ban on same-sex marriage and the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The federal law, known by the shorthand DOMA, defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and therefore keeps legally married gay Americans from collecting a range of federal benefits that generally are available to married people.

The justices have a lengthy menu of options from which to choose. They might come out with rulings that are simple, clear and dramatic. Or they might opt for something narrow and legalistic.

The court could strike down dozens of state laws that limit marriage to heterosexual couples, but it also could uphold gay marriage bans or say nothing meaningful about the issue at all.

Here's a look at potential outcomes for the Proposition 8 case and then for the case about DOMA.
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Nashville, TN

I can't wait for the decisions coming up this week.

There is no way that the court will uphold either Prop 8 or DOMA in their entireties. The real question is going to be seeing just how far the justices are willing to go. Will they wimp out and declare that the House Republicans lack standing, or will they show the courage to throw these things out altogether?

Any decisions they are likely to make will be moving in the right direction, towards full citizenship for gay people. But will this be a small step, or a giant leap? I'll be glued to my news outlets.

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