Back in the 90's (apparently not the gay 90's as that was a previous century) the pols felt obliged to pass a law defending marriage. Appropriately it was called "the Defense of Marriage Act" or DOMA.
Now the aversion to same sex marriage has faded and the issue is politically tilting in favor (or at least not against) the union of gay and lesbian couples, henceforth known as couples.
Through court order, referendum and legislative acts, nine states now sanction the unions and more are on the way.....The Supreme Court is getting involved in particular because the economic and tax advantages to marriage are barred in all fifty states by DOMA.
Of course the evolving views on the topic could be reflected in a legislative decision to repeal DOMA but since its easier to have the courts be the heavy, that's what will happen.
The Supreme Court has agreed to take up the matter next year. Congress and the President could make the Justice's job easier by repealing DOMA.
For gay and lesbian couples, real money at stake