You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

Most justices voice skepticism on marriage act

WASHINGTON — A majority of Supreme Court justices expressed deep skepticism Wednesday about a federal law denying benefits to legally wed gay and lesbian couples, conveying after two days of historic hearings on the institution of marriage a sense that they would declare the law unconstitutional.

During oral arguments over a challenge to the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ticked off some of the 1,100 federal benefits the law denies to gay couples who have been legally married in Massachusetts and eight other states: They are not guaranteed family medical leaves, cannot collect spousal Social Security benefits, and cannot file joint federal tax returns and receive a marital deduction.

Loading comments...

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week