Defense of Marriage act deemed unconstitutional, denies gay couples benefits
POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 3:00pm
UPDATED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 - 3:04pm
NBC NATIONAL NEWS — A federal appeals court rules against a central provision of the Defense of Marriage Act.
A three-judge panel of the First U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled on Thursday that the provision defining marriage as between a man and woman is unconstitutional because it denies married gay couples federal benefits.
The Defense of Marriage Act, passed in 1996, defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Since then, eight states have permitted gay marriage.
This is the first time a federal appeals panel considers the benefits section of the law unconstitutional.