The US Supreme Court has delayed a decision on whether or not to reconsider the issue of gay marriage.
Bans on same sex marriage originally enacted in the states of Utah, Indiana, Wisconsin and Oklahoma were later overturned. The Court had been due to consider these bans on September 29. If it chooses not to hear those rulings, gay marriage would become legal in 11 additional US states.
However, if the Justices choose to proceed, oral arguments would most likely begin early next year, USA Today reports, with a ruling likely to follow before June when the Court will adjourn.
A total of 19 states, as well as the District of Columbia, currently permit same sex marriage.
In June last year the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law which defined marriage as taking place between a man and a woman and therefore excluded same sex couples from state benefits.
Photo of the US Supreme Court building by Rob Crawley via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence