NewsNation | November 30, 2012
>>> we are awaiting an announcement from the u.s. supreme court on whether the justices whether enter the battle over same-sex marriage in this country. that announcement expected anytime now. the justices met behind closed doors this morning to talk about a series of cases that could take up relating to same-sex marriage, at least four of the nine justices have to agree to take up a case. pete williams joining us live now by telephone from inside the supreme court building . pete, first of all, what what are the separate issues here that the justices could be taking a look at?
>> well, there are two and it seems the most likely if the court will take any of these cases is a challenge to a federal law called the defense of marriage act passed by congress in 1996 , signed by president clinton . and it says if a couple a legally married under state law , one of the nine states that now or soon will grant the right for same-sex couples to get married, those marriages are not recognized under federal law and as a practical matter, that deprives those couples of about 1,000 federal benefits. that law has been challenged by lawsuits in several states. if seems pretty likely the court will take that case because it'sen validating an act of congress . so it seems pretty likely that the court will take that or we could find that out this afternoon. now, the other big thing we're watching is the challenge to california's proposition 8 , the voter approved measure that was passed in 2008 that ended gay marriage in california . two lower courts have said it's unconstitutional and we're waiting to see if the supreme court will take that case, as well. we should know as you say any minute.
>> let's go back to the defense of marriage act here because this is especially interesting considering the president of course earlier this year came out in support of same-sex marriage and orders eric holder not to defend doma in court. who is going to defend doma before the high court ?
>> it's actually already happened because in the federal appeals courts when the justice department said it couldn't anymore defend a law because it concluded it was unconstitutional, house republicans stepped into carry on the legal battle and they are already here in the supreme court asking the court to take these cases. so they would defend the law.
>> pete williams our man at the supreme court and we should note if there is a development here during this hour, of course pete will come back and we'll break