SCOTUS to hear cases on same sex marriage

This week, the Supreme Court of the United States will hear two cases dealing with same-sex marriages.

Recent polls indicate that America's ideas concerning gay marriage are changing.

At the center of both these cases is the question of whether marriage should be considered a state or a federal issue. A recent ABC News poll found 58% of Americans surveyed now favor gay marriage.

In 1977, just 13% supported same sex unions.

However, religious leaders on both side of the issue say it's a matter of fundamental beliefs.

"I really believe, this is something that affects everybody. Our whole nation, maybe even the world," says Emily Freeman Penfield, the pastor of Woodlawn United Methodist Church.

On Sunday evening, her congregation gathered, saying prayers for the Supreme Court as it prepares to hear arguments on same-sex marriage.

Penfield says, the courts decision will have a lasting impact. "We are able to have marriage equality. Couples can have the benefits and blessings and benefits of marriage that straight couples do," says Penfield.Alabama does not allow same-sex marriages.{} Nine others states and the District of Columbia do.{} Nine additional states have civil union or strong domestic partnership laws. Father Michael Deering is the Vicar General of the Catholic Diocese of Birmingham.

Deering says the traditional definition of marriage is a union between a man and woman.

While the court's decision will rule on the constitutionality of same-sex unions. Deering believes it shouldn't have gone to the highest court."I believe that the people, for example, in California have spoken. That they did it in a very democratic way. They had an election and a process where they voted and so they determined that this was not something needed for their state. And now, to take it to a higher level and overturn the voice of the people in California, that's not of our country. I don't think it's necessary to take it to a higher level," says Deering.

Proposition 8 is being argued Tuesday, and DOMA will be argued on Wednesday.


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