US Supreme Court justices have signalled they are reluctant to embrace a broad ruling finding a fundamental right to marriage for gays and lesbians across the United States.
After more than an hour of oral argument on whether to let stand a California ban on same-sex marriage, the court has not indicated a clear path forward.
Justice Anthony Kennedy raised concerns about the court entering "uncharted waters" on an issue that divides the states and even raised the prospect of the court dismissing the case altogether.
In a similar vein, Justice Samuel Alito also urged caution, noting that gay marriage as a concept is "newer than cellphones and the internet."
None of the justices indicated support for the Obama administration's favoured solution, which would strike down "Proposition 8" - a California measure which quashed the state's same-sex marriage initiative in 2008.
This solution would also require the other eight states that already recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships to allow gays and lesbians to marry.