NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Bans on gay marriage in three staunchly conservative Southern states are getting a hearing in a federal appeals court in New Orleans — the latest legal battle over an issue expected to be settled by the nation's highest court.

On Friday, a three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments from state attorneys from Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi — all of which passed bans on same-sex marriages — and from the lawyers arguing against those bans.

The cases could be among the last argued before the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue. The high court on Friday is eyeing the possibility of putting gay marriage on its calendar for this term.


Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.