Mass. sues feds over Defense Of Marriage Act

The state of Massachusetts has sued the federal government over the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), claiming the legislation interferes with the state's right to define marriage the way it prefers.

Massachusetts is one of six states that allows same-sex marriage. DOMA, however, defines marriage on a federal level as between one man and one woman, meaning that gay married couples in Massachusetts aren't eligible for the federal benefits that straight Bay Staters receive.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley cited that alleged discrimination in the lawsuit:
Before the law was passed, Coakley said, the federal government recognized that defining marital status was the "exclusive prerogative of the states." Now, because of the U.S. law's definition of marriage, same-sex couples are denied access to benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including federal income tax credits, employment benefits, retirement benefits, health insurance coverage and Social Security payments, the lawsuit says.

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