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The US Supreme Court said Thursday it will examine two of the nation's most controversial issues -- the death penalty and gay marriage -- in back-to-back sessions late next month as they wrap up their calendar for the year. The court -- following its custom of reserving its most hot-button issues for the end of its term -- announced that on April 28 it will hear oral arguments in a case that will settle once and for all whether gay and lesbian couples have the right to marry. The justices will address two questions: whether states are bound by the US Constitution to license a same-sex marriage, and whether a state is required to recognize same-sex marriages which took place out of state. The court justices, during two-and-a-half hour long oral arguments, will hear from plaintiffs in four states -- Ohio, Michigan, Tennessee and Kentucky -- where gay marriage is still banned.