Supreme Court hears second same sex marriage case

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Updated: 3/27/2013 5:20 pm Published: 3/27/2013 3:52 pm

The crowds are leaving the US Supreme Court and two historic cases about same sex marriage are in the justices’ hands.

The second day of arguments concluded after a fierce debate over the federal government’s restrictions of same sex marriage.

FOX23’s Scott MacFarlane was in the courtroom and reports there were fewer fireworks, but more clues from the justices.

Inside the courtroom the Supreme Court justices openly questioned whether it is constitutional for the US Government to limit the benefits it gives same sex married couples.

“What gives the federal government the right to be concerned at all about what the definition of marriage is?" asked Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg had a milk analogy about the debate, "You're saying well, state, there are two kinds of marriages. The full marriage. And then this sort of "skim-milk" marriage"

One justice questioned why the US government would deny same sex married couples social security benefits and sick leave to visit a spouse who’d fallen ill.

MacFarlane noted the conservative justices were silent for nearly 30 minutes while the attorney defending same sex marriage restrictions made his case.

The attorney said without the Defense of Marriage Act all 50 states and Washington, D.C. could be forced to recognize same sex marriage if just one state does.

He said the law has helped make the idea of marriage clearer, "It defines the term wherever it appears in federal law in a consistent way."

Crowds outside couldn’t hear what was happening inside the courtroom, but huge crowds again formed outside, including a group of same sex marriage opponents.

“Marriage, the term, should be reserved for conventional marriages like the one me and my wife engage in,” said Jim McDonald, who was protesting same sex marriage.

The crowd also contained supporters of same sex marriage, including Tulsan Cathleen Wiedenhoeft who has been outside the Supreme Court for both cases.

“The whole rainbow sea of people out here… people who are really passionate about the issue,” she said.

In the courtroom, many were struck with how much time was spent in arguments over whether the Supreme Court should even rule in this case. A ruling is likely to come down in June.

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