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Coakley DOMA interferes with Mass marriage


On Thursday, Massachusetts attorney general Martha Coakley said the Defense of Marriage Act, the law that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, interferes with her state's right to regulate the institution, the Associated Press reports.

Coakley is asking the federal government to bypass a trial and give a summary judgment, which would rule the law unconstitutional without holding a full trial. The suit was filed last July.

"The federal government has no legitimate interest in 'preserving the status quo' where the status quo is invidious discrimination," Coakley wrote in papers filed Thursday.

Coakley argued that regulating marital status traditionally is a matter for states, but the federal law has created a two-tier system of benefits for married couples in Massachusetts.

"Massachusetts cannot receive or retain federal funds if it gives same-sex and different-sex spouses equal treatment, namely by authorizing the burial of a same-sex spouse in a federally-funded veterans' cemetery and by recognizing the marriages of same-sex spouses in assessing eligibility for Medicaid health benefits," Coakley said.

Federal officials have until April 30 to respond.

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