High Court Skeptical Of Federal Marriage Law - WSPA.com

High Court Skeptical Of Federal Marriage Law

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WASHINGTON, D.C. -

The Supreme Court is indicating it could strike down the federal law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of federal benefits for married people.

 

Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the decisive vote in close cases, joined the four more liberal justices in raising questions about the provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that is being challenged at the Supreme Court.

Kennedy said the law appears to intrude on the power of states that have chosen to recognize same-sex marriages. Other justices said the law creates what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called two classes of marriage, full marriage and "skim-milk marriage."

The law affects a range of benefits available to married couples, including tax breaks, survivor benefits and health insurance for spouses of federal employees.

It also is possible the court could dismiss the case for procedural reasons, though that prospect seemed less likely than it did in Tuesday's argument over gay marriage in California.

 

High Court Hears Case On Federal Benefits For Gays

The Supreme Court is hearing the second of back-to-back gay marriage cases, a constitutional challenge to the law that prevents legally married gay Americans from collecting federal benefits generally available to straight married couples.

A section of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act says marriage may only be a relationship between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law, regardless of state laws that allow same-sex marriage.

Lower federal courts have struck down the measure. The justices, in scheduled argument Wednesday, will consider whether to follow suit.

The Defense of Marriage Act argument follows Tuesday's case over California's ban on same-sex marriage, a case in which the justices indicated they might avoid a major national ruling on whether America's gays and lesbians have a right to marry.

What are your thoughts on the issue?  Vote in the poll to the right and leave a comment below to join the discussion.

Demonstrators Return As SCOTUS Justices Hear 2nd Gay Marriage Case

For a second day, demonstrators are outside the Supreme Court as the justices hear a case involving gay marriage.

Today's crowd is somewhat smaller than yesterday's, and includes mostly gay marriage supporters holding American and rainbow flags.

Today's arguments on the federal Defense of Marriage Act focus on a provision that keeps married gay Americans from getting the same federal benefits that other married couples get. Lower federal courts have struck down the measure.

The justices are hearing two hours of arguments today.

Yesterday's case involved California's voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

The justices indicated they might avoid a major national ruling on whether gays have a right to marry. But even without a significant ruling, the court appears headed for a resolution that would mean gay marriages could resume in California.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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