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Defense of Marriage Act Found Unconstitutional in Federal Court, Again

Late Wednesday, a federal judge in New York ruled that the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA), which defines marriage as between a ‘man and woman’, is unconstitutional, as it discriminates against married same-sex couples — the fifth federal hearing to reject DOMA on Constitutionality.

Gay-rights activists celebrated a win in the battle against California's Proposition 8 (Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Federal Judge Jones said that the Defense of Marriage Act intrudes “upon the states’ business of regulating domestic relations.”

The law prohibits same-sex couples from receiving federal marriage-based benefits such as Social Security survivor benefits, health benefits and jointly filing taxes.

The case was brought to court by ACLU and Edie Windsor who argued that DOMA violates the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution because it requires the government to treat same-sex couples who are legally married as though they are not. Windsor sued the government for failing to recognize her marriage to her partner Thea Spyer, after Spyer’s death in 2009. Windsor and Spyer were married in Canada in 2007, and were considered married by their home state of New York.

Wednesdays ruling is the second ruling this week in favor of same-sex marriage, the fifth case to strike down DOMA, and the fourth such ruling in 2012 alone. DOMA is now likely to face the Supreme Court.

Originally posted on Common Dreams.

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