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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Mass. A.G. Supports DOMA Lawsuit

"We strongly support the efforts of GLAD and its clients to pursue equal rights for all married couples in Massachusetts. Since the Supreme Judicial Court issued its decision in Goodridge in 2003, Massachusetts has taken many affirmative steps to ensure and solidify marriage equality in the Commonwealth. Despite all of these efforts, married individuals in same-sex relationships do not enjoy equal rights in the Commonwealth. DOMA is a law that codifies discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Because of this law, individuals in same-sex marriages often pay more in federal income taxes, are not eligible for surviving spouse benefits from the Social Security Administration and, if they are employed by the federal government, cannot obtain healthcare coverage for their spouses. Today’s lawsuit describes compelling stories of individuals in committed, loving, and lasting relationships, who have been deprived of rights and protections that they rightfully deserve. They are simply seeking the legal protections given to all other married persons. Massachusetts sees no reason to view these couples in any other way than as married couples, and we hope that this lawsuit results in a similar outlook at the federal level." Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, March 3, 2009; in response to
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) filing a civil action on behalf of 15 Massachusetts residents in federal district court challenging the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA"), which limits the federal definition of marriage to a legal union between one man and one woman - the lawsuit alleges that DOMA, as applied to several federal programs, denies equal protection of the laws to married individuals in same-sex relationships by precluding them from obtaining legal rights and protections available to all other married individuals.

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