WASHINGTON - The argument over gay marriage is shifting from the ballot box to the Supreme Court.
The justices are meeting Friday to decide whether they should deal sooner rather than later with the claim that the Constitution gives people the right to marry regardless of sexual orientation. This issue came up just three weeks after voters in three states backed same-sex marriage.
Although that is the ultimate question, the court could focus on a narrower but still important issue: whether Congress can prevent legally married gay Americans from receiving federal benefits otherwise available to married couples.
The court could announce its plans as soon as Friday afternoon. Any cases probably would be argued in March, with a decision expected by June.