Day Two of same-sex marriage at Supreme Court


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Washington (CNN) -- Day Two of the culture wars at the Supreme Court over same-sex marriage looks at the Defense of Marriage Act, with the justices considering Wednesday whether a federal law can deny equal benefits permitted in states where gay marriage is legal.

The arguments conclude presentations before the high court on one of the most prevalent social issues of this era -- the right of gay and lesbian couples to wed and receive the full benefits of law provided to heterosexual couples.

Wednesday's case examines the practical impact of the 1996 act, which defines marriage as between a man and woman and therefore means federal tax, Social Security, pension and bankruptcy benefits as well as family medical leave protections do not apply to legally married gay and lesbian couples.

It involves Edith "Edie" Windsor, who was forced to assume an estate tax bill much larger than a surviving spouse in a heterosexual marriage would have to pay.

Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize their same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.

"I was devastated by the loss of the great love of my life, and I was also very sick, then had to deal with pulling together enough money to pay for the taxes," the 83-year-old Windsor recently told CNN.

For the complete CNN story, go here.