The U.S. Department of Justice will no longer defend the law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman. In a letter to congressional leaders, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. He adds that President Obama said the federal definition of marriage "violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment."
As a result, federal lawyers will not argue in favor of DOMA, as the 1996 Act is called, in courts across the country.
"I'm not suggesting that this is all over by any means, but this is a huge step and a huge victory, and I think it indicates, when you look closely at the legal arguments brought by the Department of Justice, they recognize, and I think other courts will recognize, that this statute is unconstitutional," said state Attorney General Martha Coakley.
Coakley joined Morning Edition Thursday to gauge the impact of this move as it could affect same-sex couples in Massachusetts.
This program aired on February 24, 2011.