US judges shy away from gay marriage law
Gay rights activists gathered outside the Supreme Court in Washington, hoping that judges would make a sweeping ruling in favour of gay marriage.
But their hopes receded last night after the court's nine judges appeared to shy away from taking a firm line.
In a landmark case that activists had hoped could lead to gay marriage being declared a right under the US Constitution, the court hinted that it could not rule on such an issue when attitudes and public opinion remained in such an obvious state of flux.
The Obama administration, which backs gay marriage, had asked the court for a ruling that would have required states that offer gay couples all the rights of marriage – but not marriage itself – to allow such couples to marry.
The court will not hand down its judgment until late June.