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Appeals court strikes down DOMA: Tradition doesn't justify unequal treatment (+video)

A three-judge panel from the federal appeals court in Boston unanimously ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional for denying federal benefits to 'same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts.'

A three-judge panel from the federal appeals court in Boston unanimously ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.
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The federal appeals court in Boston struck down the Defense of Marriage Act on Thursday, ruling that the federal statute violates the constitutional rights of gay and lesbian married couples to equal treatment under the law.

The action by a unanimous three-judge panel of the First US Circuit Court of Appeals sets the stage for a much-anticipated showdown at the US Supreme Court over same-sex marriage.

Declaring that tradition alone was not enough to justify disparate treatment of same-sex couples, the appeals court said DOMA failed to pass constitutional muster.

“Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest,” Circuit Judge Michael Boudin wrote for the court in a 28-page decision.

Joining the decision were Chief Judge Sandra Lynch and Judge Juan Torruella.

The decision comes three weeks after President Obama announced his support of gay marriage. The Justice Department had initially worked to defend DOMA against the Massachusetts-based legal challenges, but last year announced it would no longer argue for the statute’s constitutionality.

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