- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 8, 2010

A federal judge in Boston declared unconstitutional the denial of federal spousal benefits to gay couples married in Massachusetts in a major victory for advocates of same-sex marriage.

The federal government had denied a lesbian couple a series of benefits citing the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro said the federal government could not do that, saying “the states alone are empowered to determine who is eligible to marry.”

The federal law, passed by Congress in 1996, is based on “irrational prejudice,” which “never constitutes a legitimate government interest,” he said in his 44-page ruling.

Two gay couples married in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage has been legal since 2004, had argued that the federal law discriminated against them because it denied them access to federal benefits such as Medicaid. 

 

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