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Justice Department Files Motion To DOMA Challenge

This article is more than 10 years old.

The Department of Justice has filed a motion to dismiss Massachusetts' challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, the law that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman.

Attorney General Martha Coakley filed the challenge in July, saying the act undermines the state's effort to recognize same sex marriage. The state's suit says the law is discriminatory and deprives same-sex couples of the same federal benefits heterosexual couples receive, such as Social Security payments, retirement benefits and federal income tax credits.

The Obama administration has said it wants the Defense of Marriage Act repealed, but says while the law is still on the books, its attorneys are required to defend it.

Massachusetts is the only state to challenge the act. A separate suit filed by the Boston-based Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders is also pending.

Coakley says the state will challenge the motion to dismiss.

This program aired on October 30, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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