(NBC NEWS) In a historic oral argument on a challenge to state laws limiting marriage to heterosexual couples, the Supreme Court indicated Tuesday that it might not strike down such laws. After the oral argument, Pete Williams of NBC News reported that it seemed “quite obvious” that the court is not prepared to issue a sweeping ruling declaring that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Although the justices are deciding a constitutional question — whether the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment includes a right for same-sex couples to marry — the argument took place as polls indicate that public opinion is shifting toward acceptance of same-sex marriage.

More elected officials, such as Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., on Sunday and Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, last week, are personally endorsing same-sex marriage, but it remains to be seen whether the justices will be influenced by public opinion.

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