In an unexpected move, the US Supreme Court is to release same-day audio recordings of oral arguments given in the two cases around equal marriage, which are due to be taken on next week.
Normally the court does not allow same-day access to recordings, but exceptions are sometimes made in landmark, and high-profile cases. The last time the Supreme Court allowed such practice was when it considered arguments around the constitutionality of President Obama’s healthcare law.
The hour-long argument from the first case, Hollingsworth v Perry, 12-144, which challenges the Californian ban on equal marriage, Proposition 8, will be available online by 1pm on 26 March, the court said.
An audio recording of the second, a two hour argument, will go online by 2pm on 27 March, and is from case number 12-307, United States v Windsor, which challenges the Defense of Marriage Act, the US federal ban on marriage equality.
The Supreme Court did not address television coverage, which in all likelihood means that it will not be permitted.
Normally, the court just releases audio recordings of arguments at the end of each week, the aim of which is to remove the element of having to choose what is newsworthy and what is not, which in the past raised First Amendment concerns.
Critics have speculated that these cases are more high profile, which is why the court has decided to make an exception to the normal protocol.
The decision on both cases is expected by the Supreme Court by the end of June.
On 26 March, the court will take up the case of whether to overturn Proposition 8, which in 2008 added a clause to the Californian constitution stating that marriage could only be recognised by the state if it were between a man and a woman, causing widespread controversy.
The Supreme Court is also due on 27 March to hear evidence around the case of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, passed under President Bill Clinton in 1996.
Last week, the head of a well-known law firm and top attorney said that he expects the US Supreme Court to resoundingly support equal marriage, when it takes on two cases challenging equal marriage bans in America.
On Monday, the former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, officially announced her support for equal marriage in a moving speech in which she calls moves towards equality “breathtaking and inspiring”.