Taking on a historic constitutional challenge with wide cultural impact, the Supreme Court on Friday afternoon agreed to hear four new cases on same-sex marriage. The Court said it would rule on state power to ban gay and lesbian marriage and state power to refuse to recognize such marriages performed out of state. A total of one hour and ninety minutes was set for the hearings, likely in the April sitting. The Court fashioned the specific questions it is prepared to answer, but they closely tracked the two core constitutional issues that have led to a lengthy string of lower-court rulings striking down state bans. As of now, same-sex marriages are allowed in thirty-six states, with bans remaining in the other fourteen but under court challenge.