WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Supreme Court deliberated Wednesday on whether the Defense of Marriage Act, which denies legally married same-sex couples federal benefits, meets constitutional standards. The arguments over DOMA mark the second time the court has held a hearing related to same-sex marriage, with justices debating California’s Proposition 8 on Tuesday.
The court has released the audio recording and the transcript of the oral arguments, featuring persistent skepticism from liberal justices on whether DOMA, which was signed into law in 1996, is inherently prejudiced and thus invalid.
Justice Elena Kagan in particular questioned congressional motivations in enacted DOMA, quoting a House report that said the law was passed to voice “moral disapproval of homosexuality.”
But conservative Justice Antonin Scalia, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, expressed concern over President Obama’s decision to declare DOMA unconstitutional while continuing to enforce it and pointed to procedural barriers to a ruling from the court.