High court skeptical of federal marriage law

Gay Marriage
Posted at 7:31 PM, Mar 27, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-27 19:31:00-04

WASHINGTON (AP) — Two days of arguments over gay marriage are over at the Supreme Court, where five justices -- a majority -- today raised questions about a federal law denying benefits to same-sex couples, even though the benefits are given to other couples.

Justice Anthony Kennedy said the law seems to interfere with the ability of states to recognize same-sex marriages.

Justice Elena Kagan also questioned the basis for the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, pointing to a congressional report explaining that the reason for the law was to "express moral disapproval of homosexuality."

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's 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.