A U.S. district court judge has ruled today that a federal gay-marriage ban is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage. The decision from Boston Judge Joseph Tauro comes down in favor of gay couples’ rights in two different challenges to 1996’s Defense of Marriage Act. Massachusetts (a state where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004) argued the law kept gay married couples from receiving the same benefits — like Medicaid — as straight couples enjoy.
"The federal government, by enacting and enforcing DOMA, plainly encroaches upon the firmly entrenched province of the state, and in doing so, offends the Tenth Amendment. For that reason, the statute is invalid," Tauro wrote.
In a separate ruling, the judge said that DOMA also violates the Constitution’s equal-protection clause.
Judge Rules Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional [AP via NYT]