POSTED: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 8:00am
UPDATED: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 - 8:04am
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — More questions inside The Supreme Court today - and more demonstrations outside - as the court looks at whether the federal government can deny benefits to gay couples in states where their marriage is legal.
It's the first time the Court's dealt with this issue.
It got pretty heated out here yesterday.
At times, police had to separate demonstrators on both sides.
With more demonstrations expected, today the Court takes a look at whether the Defense of Marriage Act - denying federal benefits to gay couples - is constitutional.
"Their marriage is not equal to our marriage, because they cannot create children," said Angela Mantero, Prop 8 Supporter.
The Court's liberal justices questioned that Tuesday. "... if both the woman and the man are over the age of 55, there are not a lot of children coming out of that marriage," said Justice Kagan.
One of the most passionate pleas came from the defendants' son. "...look forward to the day when we'll be treated equally," said Defendants' Son, Spencer Perry.
"This is not a Democratic or Republican issue, conservative or liberal, this is about constitutional rights," said Defendants' Attorney, Ted Olson.
But the justices argued, California's proposition 8 - banning gay marriage - is about children: " ....whether that is harmful to the child or not," said Justice Scalia
"The voice of those children is important in this case," said Justice Kennedy
Justice Kennedy, the court's swing vote, warned they may be delving into uncharted waters.
Justice Alito agreed.
"You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution which is newer than cell phones or the Internet?" asked Justice Alito.
BUT BACKERS OF PROP 8 INSIST... THE VOTERS HAVE SPOKEN.
"The place for the decision to be made is with the people, not the courts," said Defendant's Attorney Charles Cooper.
Even in the 9 states where same-sex marriage is legal, federal benefits are denied.
That's what'll be argued inside, and outside the court today.