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Thursday, May 31,2012

Circuit Court Deems Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

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A federal appeals court in Boston declared on Thursday that the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutionally discriminates against homosexual couples, a landmark ruling that sets the stage for the Supreme Court to take a formal look at the law barring federal recognition of gay and lesbian couples.

The denial of benefits to married same-sex couples is not "adequately supported by any permissible federal interest," the three-member panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals found in a unanimous ruling, the Associated Press reports.

Seven married same-sex couples and three widowers led the case against DOMA, arguing that the law denies them constitutionally-guaranteed protections, Reuters explains. The federal law defines marriage exclusively as between a man and a woman, and denies gay couples federal privileges granted to heterosexual couples, like filing joint tax returns and collecting Social Security survivor benefits.


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