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.