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July 8, 2010

Federal Court Strikes Down DOMA Section 3

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional with respect to claims brought by seven married same-sex couples and three widowers from Massachusetts. Under the ruling, the plaintiffs are entitled to the same federal spousal benefits and protections as every other married couple.

The ruling stems from GLAD’s lawsuit Gill et al v. Office of Personnel Management et al, filed in March 2009.

“Today the Court simply affirmed that our country won’t tolerate second-class marriages,” says Mary Bonauto, GLAD’s Civil Rights Project Director, who argued the case. “I’m pleased that Judge Tauro recognized that married same-sex couples and surviving spouses have been seriously harmed by DOMA and that the plaintiffs deserve the same opportunities to care and provide for each other and for their children that other families enjoy. This ruling will make a real difference for countless families in Massachusetts.”

The next step in the case is for the federal government to decide whether it will appeal Judge Tauro’s ruling to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. That decision should come within the next 60 days.

Read the decision.

Read GLAD’s full press release.

Read answers to frequently asked questions about this decision, its implications and next steps.

For more information on GLAD’s DOMA challenge, including plaintiff information, visit www.glad.org/doma

In the News:
Washington Post  A defense of fairness act
Wall Street Journal Federal Ban on Gay Marriage Unconstitutional, Judge Says
Keen News Service  Two giant blows against DOMA
New York Times Judge Topples U.S. Rejection of Gay Unions