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Alabama was the source of a good bit of controversy surrounding same-sex marriage last week, after a federal judge declared the state's law prohibiting same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Right after that, however, the Alabama Supreme Court's Chief Justice Roy Moore issued his own order telling state judges and employees not to recognize same-sex marriages or issue licenses.

Moore's conflicting order led to questions about who trumps whom when it comes to federal trial courts and state supreme courts, but the U.S. Supreme Court put the issue to rest by refusing to review the case.

What's going on down in Alabama?

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in a case that could decide whether the U.S. Constitution requires states to allow or recognize gay marriage.

The Court's announcement Friday comes after it declined to hear appeals of a ruling that legalized gay marriage in five states in October, reports USA Today. In this case, the petitioners are challenging a November ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld same-sex marriage bans in four states: Ohio, Michigan, Kentucky, and Tennessee.

What do you need to know about this potentially landmark Supreme Court case? Here are answers to three important questions:

The U.S. Supreme Court returns from its winter break to hear 10 cases in January, starting today.

Many of the High Court's cases this month will deal with statutory interpretation, but a few deal with polemical issues like free speech, housing discrimination, and unlawful searches.

Here's what Court watchers have to look forward to this month:

The Connecticut Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a 17-year-old girl cannot refuse chemotherapy to treat her potentially fatal Hodgkin's lymphoma.

The justices voted unanimously to uphold a trial court's ruling allowing state officials to intervene in Cassandra Callender's medical care, Fox News reports. Callender, with the support of her mother, had refused to undergo chemotherapy treatments that her doctors say provide her with an 80 to 85 percent chance of survival, believing the treatments would do more damage to her body than the cancer.

Without the treatment, Callender would be unlikely to survive, according to her doctors.

A Florida judge granted Florida's first same-sex divorce on Wednesday, simultaneously striking down the state's refusal to recognize out-of-state gay marriages.

Heather Brassner and Megan Lade were joined in a Vermont civil union in 2002, but Brassner has tried unsuccessfully to untie the knot in Florida for the last five years. The Associated Press reports that Circuit Judge Dale Cohen dissolved Brassner and Lade's union after recognizing their marriage as legal, which required declaring that "out-of-state marriages should be recognized in Florida."

How does this gay divorce decision square with Florida's other gay marriage cases?

December 15 is recognized as Bill of Rights Day, a time when we reflect on the ratification of the Bill of Rights on December 15, 1791.

The Bill of Rights contains some of our most cherished civil rights and some of the foundations of our legal system, so it only seems right to remember the first 10 amendments to the U.S. Constitution in some fashion.

So how did Bill of Rights Day come to be recognized?

Luggage can be a complication any time you travel. But traveling with guns can make things even more difficult.

Gun regulations can vary widely by state and even by city, and these are in addition to federal regulations. Thus, being sure to check the regulations of the specific states and cities you are visiting is critical when traveling nationwide with a gun.

But what else do you need to know about traveling with guns? Here are three tips:

Gay marriage bans in Arkansas and Mississippi were struck down as unconstitutional in separate federal courts late Tuesday.

Within hours of each other, Judges Kristine Baker in Little Rock, Arkansas and Carlton Reeves in Jackson, Mississippi ruled that their respective state's ban on same-sex marriage violated the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law. Reuters reports that as of Tuesday, there are 35 states where gay marriage is legal, but these rulings may bump up that number.

What should Americans know about the gay marriage rulings in Arkansas and Mississippi?

South Carolina's gay marriage ban was ruled unconstitutional today by a federal judge.

The ruling was stayed until November 20 to allow South Carolina a chance to appeal, but that seems unlikely given a decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in late July which ruled for gay marriage in Virginia. Both Virginia and South Carolina are governed by the laws of the 4th Circuit, so it may be a short time before same-sex couples are marrying in South Carolina.

But until then, what should you know about this South Carolina gay marriage decision?

Gay marriage bans in Kansas and Missouri were struck down by federal and state courts, respectively, this week. However, a ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld bans on gay marriage in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, and Michigan.

On Wednesday, CNN reports that a St. Louis circuit judge struck down Missouri's prohibition on same-sex marriage, ordering officials to issue marriage licenses to gay couples seeking to get married. In neighboring Kansas, Reuters reports that a federal judge ruled Tuesday that the state's ban on gay marriage was unconstitutional, giving the state one week to file an appeal.

What do these gay marriage rulings mean for residents of Kansas, Missouri, and the four states within the 6th Circuit?