The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is under attack from all sides, including the 9th Circuit Court, as well as President Obama, who vows to repeal DOMA, and now this from Massachusetts.
UPDATE 5/2/10: Federal judge in Boston will hear arguments this week
UPDATE 2/19/10: Mass. A.G. Martha Coakley files for ruling DOMA unconstitutional without trial
UPDATE 9/18/09: Obama Justice Dept. "defends" DOMA, while saying Obama opposes DOMA
-- From "Mass. is 1st to fight US marriage law" by Nandini Jayakrishna and Jonathan Saltzman, Boston Globe Correspondent 7/9/09
Massachusetts, the first state to legalize gay marriage, yesterday became the first to challenge the constitutionality of a federal law that defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman, contending that Congress intruded into a matter that should be left to states.
The suit filed by state Attorney General Martha Coakley says the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 violates the US Constitution by interfering with the state’s right to define the marital status of residents. The suit also says the law forces the state to discriminate against same-sex married couples - on certain health benefits and burial rights - or risk losing federal funding.
[Separately,] On March 3, six same-sex couples and three men whose husbands died brought a claim that said the federal law barred them from getting more than 1,000 marriage-related benefits that heterosexual couples enjoy. The benefits include health insurance for spouses of federal employees and tax deductions for couples who jointly file federal income tax returns.
Charles Miller, a spokesman for the Justice Department, which defends the government in litigation, issued a two-sentence statement yesterday saying President Obama "supports legislative repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act because it prevents LGBT couples from being granted equal rights and benefits. We will review this case."
Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, and New Hampshire allow or will soon permit same-sex marriages. The unions are scheduled to become legal in Maine, as well, in September, but that could be put on hold if opponents gather enough signatures to force a statewide vote.
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