WASHINGTON - The Obama administration is asking the Supreme Court to settle the legal fight over a law that denies federal benefits to married gay couples.
The Justice Department on Tuesday asked the court to hear an appeal in its next term of lower court rulings striking down a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act. The earliest the justices might decide to hear the case is in late September. Arguments probably would take place over the winter and a decision returned by late June 2013.
The administration said it agrees with the lower court rulings, but wants prompt high court review because President Barack Obama has instructed federal agencies to continue to enforce the law's ban on federal benefits to married gay couples until there is a final court ruling.
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