The day countless LGBT advocates have been waiting for is finally in sight -- the Supreme Court is going to take up a marriage equality case this term. The nation's highest court on Friday granted all four pending requests, known as petitions for writ of certiorari, to hear challenges to same-sex marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. The case is likely to bring a landmark decision for the gay rights movement that establishes nationwide whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to wed.
A few months ago, many expected the U.S. Supreme Court to take up one of the pending marriage-equality cases, but the justices declined. Three appellate courts -- the 4th, 7th, and 10th Circuits -- had already cleared the way for same-sex marriages in much of the country, and soon after the high court took a pass, the 9th Circuit reached the same conclusion.
Jan. 17, 201515:23
In case it's not obvious, let's make this very plain: this is the case that could finally bring equal marriage rights to every state in the nation.
Tom Goldstein, a lawyer who's argued several times before the Supreme Court, told NBC News, "It's impossible to overstate the historic significance of a decision on such a fundamental piece of our social fabric."
Oral arguments in the case will be heard in April -- just three months away, and a month after arguments in the King v. Burwell case that will decide the future of the Affordable Care Act -- with a decision expected at the end of the term in June.
Look for more on this on tonight's show.