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High court skeptical of federal marriage law

WASHINGTON — 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.

By MARK SHERMAN, AP Modified: March 27, 2013 at 12:51 pm •  Published: March 27, 2013
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/articleid/3771758/1/pictures/1994168">Photo - A group from Alabama prays in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, before the court's hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the second of back-to-back gay marriage case, 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)
A group from Alabama prays in front of the Supreme Court in Washington, Wednesday, March 27, 2013, before the court's hearing on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In the second of back-to-back gay marriage case, 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)

She read from a House of Representatives report explaining that the reason for the law was "to express moral disapproval of homosexuality." The quote produced an audible reaction in the courtroom.

Paul Clement, representing the House Republican leadership in defending the law, said the more relevant question is whether Congress had "any rational basis for the statute." He supplied one, the federal government's interest in treating same-sex couples the same no matter where they live.

Clement said the government does not want military families "to resist transfer from West Point to Fort Sill because they're going to lose their benefits." The U.S. Military Academy at West Point is in New York, where same-sex marriage is legal, and Fort Sill is in Oklahoma, where gay marriages are not legal.

 

The Tuesday audio can be found at: http://tinyurl.com/dxefy2a .

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Follow Mark Sherman at www.twitter.com/shermancourt


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