In response to:

Beyond the Supreme Court: A Guide to Settling Gay Marriage

I said nothing about 'benefits' speciifically, only about equal protection under the law, and the basis for that is explicit. If benefits are consequences of equal protection then I guess the same basis applies.

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares to tackle two gay marriage issues, those of us looking for some sweeping overall conclusions on the issue should temper our expectations.

The cases to be examined by the high court involve some specifics-- the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, and the range of benefits the federal government should grant in states choosing to recognize gay unions.

Both will necessarily involve some examination of what role the federal government should play in matters of gay marriage, but neither is likely to settle the biggest questions:

What is the proper...