WASHINGTON (AP) — Time is running short for the Supreme Court to get same-sex marriage on its calendar if the justices want to tackle the issue before their current term ends.

They might have to decide to jump in at their closed-door conference Friday if they want to resolve the legal debate over gay marriage in the next few months.

If they take the case, the justices would hear it in April, the last month for oral arguments before October.

Written arguments would have to be filed on a compressed schedule, though both sides are well versed in the issues after numerous rounds in the lower courts.

The court already has contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of states that allow same-sex couples to marry without settling the issue nationwide.