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Govt. Allowed to Appeal DOMA Case

Govt. Allowed to Appeal DOMA Case


A stay was issued in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing the government time to appeal the ruling in favor of Massachusetts gay couples who want the federal government to recognize their state-sanctioned marriages.

In Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, the plaintiffs say they have been forced to pay extra income taxes, denied Social Security benefits, and incurred other financial hardships because Section 3 of DOMA does not allow the federal government to recognize marriages of gay couples, a state concern.

U.S. district court judge Joseph L. Tauro issued an amended judgment Wednesday to stay his ruling for 60 days to allow time for an appeal. He ruled July 8 that Section 3 violates the U.S. Constitution's equal protection guarantees.

Mary L. Bonauto of Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, the legal organization representing the plaintiffs, said GLAD agreed to the stay to ensure its clients are awarded their Social Security payments, health insurance costs, and tax refunds without risking a possible repayment to the government. The organization also said that after the appeals process is over, it will be clear whether all married same-sex couples, in Massachusetts and elsewhere, can seek federal benefits.

"We are more than ready to deal with an appeal," Bonauto said. "We have confidence in the strength and justice of our case."

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