U.S. Supreme Court hears same-sex marriage arguments for second day

The same-sex marriage debate is entering a second day of arguments in the nation's highest court. The U.S. Supreme Court will examine the 1996 Defense

Supreme Court justices are considering the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Supreme Court justices are considering the federal Defense of Marriage Act. (3/27/13)

WASHINGTON - The same-sex marriage debate is entering a second day of arguments in the nation's highest court.

The U.S. Supreme Court will examine the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman for purposes of federal law, regardless of a state's law.

The major question is whether legally married same-sex couples should be entitled to the same federal benefits available to married heterosexual couples, such as health insurance.

Justices already heard arguments this week on California's Proposition 8, a voter-approved ban on gay marriage.

A decision is expected later this year, but justices have raised doubts, suggesting that the court could dismiss the cases with no ruling at all. 

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