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DOMA Challenged In Boston's Federal Court27:07
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Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley at the federal courthouse, Wednesday (Fred Thys/WBUR)
Mass. Attorney General Martha Coakley at the federal courthouse, Wednesday (Fred Thys/WBUR)

Today the federal law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman was challenged in the highest court to date. The First Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Boston's John Joseph Moakley Courthouse in a case challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA.

Since Massachusetts first allowed same-sex couples to marry in 2004, several states have legalized gay marriage. But under DOMA, those marriages aren't recognized by the federal government.

The 17 gay men and women plaintiffs in the Massachusetts case say DOMA is unconstitutional because by not recognizing their marriages, they are being denied federal benefits given to heterosexual couples.

Guests:

  • Fred Thys, WBUR reporter
  • Mary Bonauto, civil rights project director, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders
  • Bill Duncan, director, Marriage Law Foundation

Related:

This segment aired on April 4, 2012.

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