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Mass. Case To Test Federal Gay Marriage Ban

A lawsuit being filed in Boston today challenges the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Plaintiffs — all from Massachusetts — say the law discriminates against same-sex couples because it denies them access to federal benefits — such as pensions and health insurance — that other married couples receive.

State trooper Mary Ritchie says she and her spouse, Kathleen Bush, have paid nearly $15,000 more in taxes because they are not allowed to file joint federal tax returns.

Plaintiffs also include Dean Hara, the widower of former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay member of the House.

The lawsuit is being filed by in Boston by Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the same group that brought a successful legal challenge that led to Massachusetts becoming the first state in the nation to legalize gay marriage in 2004.

The Defense of Marriage Act was passed by Congress in 1996.

This program aired on March 3, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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