The Supreme Court will hear arguments in late March in a pair of cases challenging laws that define marriage as a union of a man and a woman.
On March 26, the court will review a California ban on gay marriage, which voters narrowly approved in 2008. That case could give the court a chance to accept or reject a constitutional right to same-sex marriage or issue a narrower ruling affecting only the nation's most populous state.
The next day, the court will review a New York court ruling striking down a centerpiece of the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that denies married same-sex couples a variety of federal benefits that heterosexual couples receive.
The scheduling was announced in a calendar released by the court on Monday. In May, President Barack Obama said he believed same-sex couples deserve the right to marry, and the government is no longer defending the federal benefits law.