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July 8, 2009

Commonwealth Files Suit Challenging DOMA Sec 3

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley today announced that the Commonwealth has filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The suit, Commonwealth v. United States Department of Health and Human Services, states that “In enacting DOMA, Congress overstepped its authority, undermined states’ efforts to recognize marriages between same-sex couples, and codified an animus towards gay and lesbian people.”

GLAD’s Legal Director Gary Buseck said in a statement:

“DOMA represents an unprecedented intrusion by the federal government into the traditional and historical power of the states to make determinations of marital status. By refusing to recognize any marriage of same-sex couples—and by denying these couples access to all federal rights, protections and responsibilities related to marriage—the federal government steps in and overrides these state-sanctioned marriages. The Commonwealth’s lawsuit seeks to uphold the traditional division of power between the federal and state governments as it has always been regarding marriage.

In filing this challenge, the Commonwealth and Attorney General Coakley uphold the Commonwealth’s long tradition as a national civil rights leader and take a major step towards ensuring that all its citizens are treated equally by the federal government. We applaud the Commonwealth’s move to protect legally married same-sex couples from the harms caused by federal discrimination.”

Read GLAD’s full statement

Read the Commonwealth’s complaint

GLAD’s legal challenge to DOMA Sec 3, Gill v OPM

In the News

New York Times: State Suit Challenges U.S. Defense of Marriage Act

CNN: Massachusetts Sues Federal Government Over Marriage Law

NECN: Massachusetts Sues Government Over Definition of Gay Marriage

Associated Press: Mass. Sues Feds Over Definition of Marriage

Boston Globe: Mass. Challenges Federal Defense of Marriage Act