DOMA Challenge to Be Heard in Court

BY Julie Bolcer

May 05 2010 11:40 AM ET

Eight married same-sex couples and three widowers will appear in federal court in Boston Thursday to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act. The plaintiffs are part of the lawsuit Gill et al. v. Office of Personnel Management, which names the Obama administration as a defendant.

WCVB TV in Boston reports that U.S. district court judge Joseph L. Tauro will hear the case. The plaintiffs, all married in Massachusetts, are being represented by Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders. The federal government is being represented by the U.S. attorney’s office in Boston.

“The plaintiffs said that DOMA, passed in 1996, means they have been denied survivor benefits on a deceased spouse’s pension; denied health insurance coverage for a spouse on a federal family plan; denied Social Security spousal, death, and widower benefits; and denied the ability to file federal income taxes jointly as married,” reports WCVB TV.

“They argue that the federal law restricts federal benefits to those in heterosexual marriages and they said that is inherently unfair and that it's only the states that should be able to determine marriage and domestic relations laws.

“The federal government, represented by the U.S. attorney's office in Boston, has asked that the case be dismissed, saying, among other things, that there is no fundamental right to federal benefits based on marital status.”







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