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DOMA addressed that concern, and 40 states, including Hawaii, enacted their own DOMAs, either through voter referendum or their legislatures.

Six states and the District have now legalized gay marriage, setting up the kind of scenario foreseen 15 years ago. “Equality now stops at the border of our state,” Mrs. Cumiskey said.

Earlier this year, the Obama administration declared DOMA unconstitutional and ceased defending it in several lawsuits. House Republicans responded by hiring a private law firm to defend the law.