Hundreds rally in Dallas in support of same-sex marriage - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Hundreds rally in Dallas in support of same-sex marriage

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DALLAS -

Starting Tuesday, the United States Supreme Court takes on gay marriage and whether the government can restrict marriage to one man and one woman.

Activists are already camped out in front of the high court building and will likely be there for several days.
    
The court will see two cases. The first will be California's Proposition 8 where voters outlawed gay marriage.

Second, on Wednesday, the court will hear a challenge to the federal "Defense of Marriage Act." It was passed by Congress in 1996 and signed into law by then President Bill Clinton who has since disavowed it.

Hundreds of people rallied in support of same-sex marriage in Dallas.

Organizers called the rally in Oak Lawn, "Light the Way to Justice."

The Supreme Court is preparing to hear arguments on two laws, one state and one federal that ban gay marriage.

Those at the rally hope the high court will find both laws unconstitutional.

Among those attending the rally, Mikel LaPorte and his partner.

The two traveled to Vermont in 2011 to get married.

"To me that piece of paper is more than just a piece of paper. It makes our relationship legitimate," said Mikel LaPorte.

Vermont is a state that recognizes their union though they returned to live in Texas, which does not. Legally, they are considered roommates with no spousal rights at all.

"I think it's absolutely critical that the court comes out in support of this in order for the lawmakers to get behind it," said Mikel LaPorte.

Constitutional expert Dr. David Upham said if the high court strikes down the laws, gay marriage effectively becomes legal everywhere, even in the 40 states where it's banned.

"They will enjoy the same privileges, burdens and duties as opposite sex couples," said Dr. David Upham, Director of Legal Studies at the University of Dallas.

But he thinks there's a chance the Supreme Court will decide this is not the right time, these are not the right cases and make no ruling at all.

The Defense of Marriage Act is a federal law that limits federal benefits like End of Life Care, Social Security benefits and Joint Income Tax Filings, to marriages between a man and a woman.

Last year, the Obama Administration decided it would no longer defend the law in court.

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