The legal storm over gay marriage has been brewing from coast to coast and is on its way toward the U.S. Supreme Court.
A Boston-based federal appeals court is saying the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it denies equal benefits to gay and lesbian couples. The unanimous three-judge decision was the first federal appeals court ruling that found same-sex marriage restrictions to be unconstitutional. This ruling marks the latest blow in the courts to the state and federal bans on same-sex marriage and may be the case that pushes the gay marriage debate up to the Supreme Court sometime this year.
Since DOMA was passed in 1996, many states have instituted their own bans on gay marriage, while eight states have approved it, including Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont, Maryland, Washington State, and the District of Columbia. With this puzzle of cases becoming increasingly complicated, it appears that the Supreme Court will have no choice but to tackle the gay marriage debate itself.
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