(CBS News) On Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court considered whether California's ban on same-sex marriage violates the federal Constitution.
The justices spent much of Tuesday asking whether they got involved in the case too soon, according to CBS News' Jan Crawford, who said the justices seemed to be looking for a way to avoid a broad ruling on whether the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage.
Conservative Justice Samuel Alito urged caution and asked, "You want us to step in and render a decision based on an assessment of the effects of this institution, which is newer than cell phones or the Internet?"
Liberal Justice Sonia Sotomayor said, "We let the issues perk, and so we let racial segregation perk for 50 years."
David Boies, a same-sex marriage supporter and one of the lawyers who appeared before the court this week, said Wednesday on "CBS This Morning," that it is a "very complicated issue from their standpoint" and added that it's "particularly hard in this case to read too much into their questions."
"They were troubled by having taken the case and being confronted with trying to make a decision on that issue now, perhaps without letting it percolate a little bit in the court of appeals," Boies explained.
Boies said one thing was clear in the courtroom this week, however: that the welfare of "tens and hundreds of thousands of children" is at stake.
"One of the things that was absolutely clear from the record ... the children being raised today by gay and lesbian couples are seriously harmed by not permitting the people raising them to be married. There was no dispute about that. Even the defendant's witnesses admitted that. You've got serious harm to these children, everyday," Boies said.