By Lawrence Hurley WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Tuesday on whether the Constitution provides same-sex couples the right to marry, with a majority of the nine justices firing skeptical questions at a lawyer asking them to legalize gay marriage nationwide. Five justices including a possible swing vote, Justice Anthony Kennedy, and a member of the court's liberal wing, Justice Stephen Breyer, asked lawyer Mary Bonauto why the high court should change a definition of marriage that has existed for millennia, rather than allowing American voters to decide. The oral arguments, scheduled for 2-1/2 hours, continued and were expected to end about 12:30 p.m.. A lively crowd estimated at more than 1,000 people, with those favoring legalized gay marriage outnumbering those opposed, gathered outside the white marble courthouse as the justices heard arguments in the case, known as Obergefell v. Hodges.
By Renee Maltezou and Deepa Babington ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday he was confident of an outline deal with international creditors within two weeks, after shaking up his negotiating team and sidelining his finance minister who has infuriated euro zone partners. Athens is weeks away from running out of cash, and talks with EU and IMF lenders on more aid have been deadlocked over their demands for Greece to implement reforms, including pension cuts and labor market liberalization. Greek financial markets and the euro rallied on hopes that the relegation of Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, a Marxist academic prone to lecturing his euro zone peers, would improve prospects for an early deal to avoid a default that might lead to a Greek exit from the currency area. Yet around half of investors expect Greece to leave the euro zone within the next 12 months, a survey published by German research group Sentix showed on Tuesday.