South Carolina group rallying for gay marriage

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- Supporters of gay marriage are holding a rally in Columbia as the U.S. Supreme Court takes up the issue.

SC Equality's rally is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon on the Statehouse steps in Columbia. Similar events took place Monday in Greenville and Charleston.

The U.S. Supreme Court this week is hearing two cases on gay marriage. On Tuesday, the court hears a challenge to California's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage.

On Wednesday, justices, hear arguments concerning the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act. The federal law defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman and therefore keeps legally married gay Americans from collecting a range of federal benefits that generally are available to married people.