51°
Clear
SAT
 69°
 40°
SUN
 67°
 38°
MON
 69°
 41°
TUE
 71°
 37°
WED
 69°
 40°

U.S. Supreme Court skeptical of federal marriage law

  • Wyatt Tan, left and Mark Nomadiou, both of New York City, kiss in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, prior to the start of a court hearing on the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the second of back-to-back gay marriage cases, the Supreme Court is turning to a constitutional challenge to the law that prevents legally married gay Americans from collecting federal benefits generally available to straight married couples. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON — In a major gay rights case, the Supreme Court indicated Wednesday it could strike down the law that prevents legally married gay couples from receiving a range of federal benefits that go to other married people.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, often the decisive vote in close cases, joined the four more liberal justices in raising questions about a provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act that is being challenged at the 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 and "skim-milk marriage."

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

It still 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.


© The Press Democrat |  Terms of Service |  Privacy Policy |  Jobs With Us |  RSS |  Advertising |  Sonoma Media Investments |  + |  Place an Ad
Switch to our Mobile View