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.