Same-Sex Couples in Massachusetts File Suit Challenging Federal Defense of Marriage Act
BOSTON, MA – Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD) filed suit in the Federal District Court in Boston on behalf of several same-sex couples, claiming the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. The suit challenges only that portion of the federal DOMA that prevents the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage through the provision of federal benef its, including Social Security, filing joint tax returns, federal employee and pension benefits, and the issuance of passports.
The plaintiffs include eight same-sex couples and three widowers who obtained Massachusetts same-sex marriage licenses. Dean Hara, the spouse of former Representative Gerry E. Studds, joined the suit after being denied his congressional pension and other benefits after Studds died in 2006. Melba Abreu and Beatrice Hernandez claim they would have saved about $20,000 in federal income tax over the past few years if they had been able to file jointly. Another plaintiff, Herbert Burtis, lost his spouse last year but is not entitled to Social Security benefits. Mary Ritchie, a Massachusetts State Police trooper, and Kathleen Bush joined the suit hoping to be able to file joint tax returns. Plaintiffs also include a Postal Service employee who was unable to add her spouse to her health insurance plan; a Social Security Administration retiree who was denied health insurance for his spouse; three widowers who were denied death benefits for funeral expenses; and a man who has been denied a passport bearing his married name.
President Barack Obama has pledged to work to repeal DOMA. Those tasked with defending this lawsuit will be the new Attorney General, Erik Holder, and the Department of Justice.
Mathew Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: “The sovereignty of each state to preserve the integrity of marriage m ust be maintained. While Massachusetts has chosen to rewrite the definition of marriage, it may not force the federal government and the rest of the country to adopt same-sex marriage. I urge the Obama administration to fully defend the federal law and to put aside its personal agenda for the sake of upholding the rule of law and the will of the American people.”
Liberty Counsel will be filing a brief in defense of the federal DOMA. Liberty Counsel has successfully defended DOMA and has also successfully defended traditional marriage in over 40 cases.
(Printed courtesy of Liberty Counsel.)
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