Federal law excluding gay marriage is under siege

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July 9, 2009


"Five years after it became the first state to marry same-sex couples, Massachusetts is taking on the federal government's definition of marriage.

"While other lawsuits have challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed in 1996 and defined marriage as between a man and woman, Massachusetts is the first to argue that Congress overstepped its bounds and violated a state's right to determine what constitutes marriage.

"'Marriage discrimination in states, and at the federal level, all boils down to the question of whether there is any legitimate reason to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples,' says Jennifer Pizer, senior counsel for Lambda Legal, a leading gay and lesbian rights organization."

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