There are dozens of commentaries and analyses about why the Supreme Court took the same-sex marriage cases, but if you're pressed for time you might want to read these two quick takes from mainstream media heavyweights -- WSJ Blog (sub. req.) weighs in with "Why These Same-Sex Marriage Cases?" and also speculates in a separate post whether standing will be used as a way to avoid the substance, while Adam Liptak at the New York Times takes on the "why these cases" question in "Same-Sex Issue Pushes Justices into Overdrive." From Liptak:
By taking both, the court gave itself the chance to issue a sweeping ruling that would cast aside bans on same-sex marriage nationwide. But the speed with which the court moved also raised the possibility of a split decision, one that would provide federal benefits to same-sex couples married in states that allow such unions but would permit other states to forbid gay and lesbian couples from marrying.