Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News
Traditional marriage supporters gather Tuesday, March 26, 2013 at the Utah State Capitol to celebrate marriage. Hundreds of backers of same sex marriage turned out to voice their view.

As the U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments in two key gay marriage cases yesterday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints reaffirmed its stance on marriage.

"Today the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments regarding the definition of marriage in this country.

"We firmly support the divinely appointed definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman because it is the single most important institution for strengthening children, families, and society.

"We hope the court will agree, and we look forward to the decision on this important matter."

In 2008, the church presented a document titled "The Divine Institution of Marriage," when Proposition 8 became a ballot measure in California, "to explain its reasons for defending marriage between a man and a woman as an issue of moral imperative." More recently, the church launched a website about same-sex attraction "in an effort to encourage understanding and civil conversation," according to the church's Newsroom.

Today the Supreme Court will consider the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law that prevents gay couples legally married under state law from receiving a range of federal benefits afforded to straight married couples.