Supreme Court begins gay marriage case arguments

(Reuters) – America’s top court convened on Tuesday to take up the delicate and divisive issue of gay marriage, with the nine Supreme Court justices set to consider the legality of a California ballot initiative that limits marriage to opposite-sex couples.

As sign-carrying demonstrators from both sides gathered peacefully in front of the Supreme Court building on a brisk morning in Washington, the first of two days of oral arguments on the issue got under way inside.

On Wednesday, the court will consider the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which limits the definition of marriage to opposite-sex couples. Rulings in both cases are expected by the end of June.