Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy on Wednesday coaxed Focus on the Family's Tom Minnery to admit the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) hurts children.

In his testimony at the first-ever Senate hearing on repeal of the law that bans federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples, Minnery, the head of the group's political arm, CitizenLink, stated that children fare better in a household headed by a married father and mother.

Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee considering the repeal measure, pointedly asked Minnery whether he believes DOMA disadvantages the children of gay couples.

“Are they not disadvantaged by not having the same financial benefits that an opposite sex family would have?” Leahy asked.

“Well, as I say, not knowing the details of which families you are speaking of, certainly children are better off with parents in the home,” Minnery responded.

“Yes or no,” Leahy insisted, “it's not a trick question. If you have parents legally married under the laws of the state – one set of parents are entitled to certain financial benefits for their children, the other set of parents are denied those same financial benefits for their children … are not those children of the second family, are they not at a disadvantage, yes or no?”

“That would be yes, as you asked the question earlier senator,” Minnery responded. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

(Related: Senator Al Franken disputes Tom Minnery's claims against gay families.)