WASHINGTON: The US Supreme Court was silent Friday on whether it plans to hear cases that could lead to a more comprehensive ruling on same-sex marriage, following a closed-door meeting on the topic.
The nine justices, who are likely to make their announcement next week, are considering whether to tackle any of several cases that address whether individual states have the right to ban same-sex marriages.
A total of 36 states plus the capital city, Washington, allow gay marriage in the United States, with 70 percent of the population now living in areas that are gay-marriage friendly.
The Supreme Court has previously stopped short of legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide, leaving that question to the states.
But a decision in any of the five cases that the justices may hear — appeals from Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky and Louisiana, all of which prohibit gay marriage — could have an impact across the 14 states were the unions are banned.
In a landmark decision in June 2013, the Supreme Court struck down a law denying federal benefits to homosexual couples that had defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
The justices made no announcement in a document given to reporters Friday, but they could say as soon as Monday whether they will review the cases this term. They have until the end of January to decide.
A decision resulting from any subsequent hearing would be expected in late June.