WASHINGTON (BP)—The U.S. Supreme Court will announce two highly anticipated rulings on same-sex marriage Wednesday as part of its final day of the term.

Chief Justice John Roberts announced Tuesday (June 25) the high court would issue its remaining three opinions, which would include one regarding California's Proposition 8 and another on the federal Defense of Marriage Act. Both measures defined marriage as only between a man and a woman.

California voters approved Prop 8 as an amendment to the state constitution in 2008 after the state Supreme Court had legalized gay marriage earlier in the year. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, however, invalidated the amendment.

Congress passed and President Clinton signed into law the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. Lower courts struck down DOMA's Section 3, which defines marriage as a heterosexual union for purposes of such matters as federal benefits. Section 3 also bars the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

The justices have several options in the cases. The rulings could range from affirming laws that protect traditional marriage to legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country. Many observers predict the court's decisions will fall somewhere between those possibilities.

California is one of 30 states that define marriage within the state constitution in the traditional sense of one man and one woman. States that have legalized same-sex marriage are: Connecticut; Delaware; Iowa; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Minnesota; New Hampshire; New York; Rhode Island; Washington; and Vermont. Gay marriage also is legal in the District of Columbia.

The Supreme Court announced five decisions Monday and three Tuesday. After Tuesday's ruling announcements, Roberts said the justices would issue the remainder of their opinions Wednesday.

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Compiled by Tom Strode, Baptist Press' Washington bureau chief. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).

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