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Of marriage act denies federal benefits to legally married same sex couples.
But today as -- Supreme Court heard a second day of arguments on same sex marriage several justices raised concerns about -- law.
Correspondent Shannon Bream was there.
As protesters outsiders the Supreme Court to overturn the defense of marriage act or Del -- Inside the justices debated the underpinnings of the law -- with large bipartisan majorities in 1996 and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton who was now disavowing it's.
Did -- justice Elena Kagan pointed to the loss history.
I'm -- -- quote from that house report here.
Is that congress decided to reflect and honor a collective moral judgment.
And to express moral disapproval of homosexuality.
Is that what happened in 1990 cents.
There was an audible reaction in the courtroom.
But not everyone was convinced that was the driving factor behind the landslide votes in both the house and senate.
Including Chief Justice John Roberts who repeatedly questioned the implication.
So 84 -- it's the same question I asked the port 84 senators.
Base your vote on moral disapproval of gay people.
Former solicitor general Paul Clement who represents the house members who were fighting to defend Dilma ever since the Obama administration announced it would not.
Said lawmakers considering the 1996 legislation asked the Clinton justice department for its -- of the constitutionality.
Three times and each time they were given the okay.
Clement argued that was hardly evidence of an improper animus.
The case arrived at the court because of plane if Edith Windsor who married her partner in Canada -- the actually lived in New York.
At the time -- partner died their marriage was not legally recognized in that state and that left Windsor with a hefty tax bill.
It would have been much smaller had -- been spouses so she sued to overturn Dilma.
In addition the winds -- specific claim it was clear a number of justices have a problem with how the laws playing out in reality in 2013.
Denying numerous federal benefits to same sex couples even if they are legally married in their home states.
Anime -- every aspect of mind that your partner is fit.
And feel for security and he thinks it's pervasive it's not over I think this little federal fear and -- -- me.
And the tax question if he.
As if it can be thinner and her -- statutes and in -- every area of.
Like other signaled the broader issue of whether -- equates to the federal government speaking on an issue that is more properly left to the states.
And I think it into the don't want the question is whether or not the federal government.
Under -- federalism scheme has the authority to regulate marriage.
There are real concerns once again about whether the justices will actually get to the merits -- considering same sex marriage.
The jurisdictional technical issues in this case were so -- that court actually appointed an outside attorneys -- just those issues.
And spent about an hour on that before they got to the question of whether or not don't what should be struck down.
Shannon bray reporting from the Supreme Court on a windy day Shannon thanks for that.
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