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By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court appeared sharply divided on Tuesday on whether to legalize gay marriage across the United States, with Justice Anthony Kennedy, the likely swing vote, asking skeptical questions but saying same-sex couples can have a "noble purpose" for marrying. At one point, a protester shouted that the justices would "burn in hell" if they backed gay marriage, then he was dragged screaming from the packed courtroom by police. Kennedy, who often casts the deciding vote in close cases and has a history of backing gay rights, posed tough questions to both sides, giving little indication of how he will vote. In remarks that could give some hope to gay marriage supporters, Kennedy cast doubt on some of the rationales that U.S. states have given in favor of restricting marriage to heterosexual couples.