Washington (CNN) - Day Two of the culture wars at the Supreme Court over same-sex marriage, and another opportunity for the justices to give political and legal clarity to a contentious issue.
This all further intensifies interest in Wednesday's arguments on the constitutionality of a federal law that, like California, defines marriage as only between a man and a woman.
But a practical impact of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act means federal tax, Social Security, pension, and bankruptcy benefits, and family medical leave protections - do not apply to gay and lesbian couples.
The appeal centers on that element and involves Edith "Edie" Windsor, who was forced to assume an estate tax bill much larger than other married couples would have to pay. Because her decades-long partner was a woman, the federal government did not recognize the same-sex marriage in legal terms, even though their home state of New York did.
Shannon Travis previews the DOMA case arguments before the Supreme Court on "Early Start" this morning.
Washington (CNN) - The meaning of marriage.
It's an issue that does not get more basic, yet the complexity surrounding the legal, social, and political implications of expanding that right to gays and lesbians is now squarely before the Supreme Court.
The justices launch an epic public dialogue on Tuesday when they hear oral arguments in the first of two appeals to state and federal laws restricting same-sex marriage. The second round will be on Wednesday.
This morning on "Early Start," CNN's Shannon Travis looks at three possible outcomes in the case before the Supreme Court.
This morning, "FORTUNE" Magazine has an exclusive, noting that at least 60 companies will be filing a brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage. Companies include AIG, Becton Dickinson, Cisco, Cummins, Kimpton, Levi Strauss, McGraw Hill, NCR, Nike, Office Depot, Oracle, Panasonic, Qualcomm, and Xerox.
This morning on "Early Start," Christine Romans breaks down the "FORTUNE" report and what it could mean for benefits for same-sex couples.
San Fran. AIDS Foundation's Neil Giuliano on how gay community will react to President Obama's gay marriage endorsement.
NewYorker.com writer Richard Socarides on the potential political fallout for President Obama endorsing gay marriage.
This morning, a brand new era in American history as President Obama becomes the first president ever to support same-sex marriage. He made the statement in an interview with ABC.
"I've just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," President Obama says.
While the nation is nearly evenly split on this issue with 50% supporting same-sex marriage and 48% opposing it, some analysts say that his support might lose him vote in a key demographic that has supported him for years: African-American voters.
While fewer African-Americans oppose the issue than before, just 39% of African-Americans support same-sex marriage, 49% oppose it. Reverend Jamal Harrison Bryant, pastor of the Empowerment Temple in Baltimore, talks with Ashleigh Banfield to explain how black voters will view President Obama's gay marriage backing.
"A lot of African-American leaders right now are really dazed by this because we didn't see it coming," Rev. Bryant says. "For the last four years, the African-American clergy have really supported, covered, and prayed for President Obama, and it really came without any warning."
Regardless of the shock, Rev. Bryant says it may not sway African American voters to pick another candidate.
"I would say by and large, African-Americans are going to support President Obama. I don't think that this is going to be a deal breaker because there's so many issues at stake when you deal with Pell Grants, when you deal with predatory lending, when you deal with job preparedness and you see the economy on the surge of rebound. I think African-Americans are going to stand with the president, with his presidency, but not on this policy," Rev. Bryant says.
Read more from the interview below.
National Journal's Ron Brownstein on how President Obama's historic endorsement of same sex marriage will sway voters.
This morning, protesters in North Carolina are saying "our fight for fairness is not over."
This comes after North Carolina voters passed a strict amendment to their constitution that eliminates same sex marriages. Amendment One also bans civil unions and domestic partnerships for both gay and straight couples in the state. Gay marriages were already illegal in the state.
As the general election gears up towards November, many Democrats calling on President Obama to speak out in support of gay marriage. So far, the President has been ambiguous.
On "Early Start" this morning, CNN political contributor Roland Martin talks about the political wrangling around same sex marriage.