A US appeals court has ruled that a law denying gay couples the same rights and privileges as straight couples is unconstitutional. In a unanimous decision, the three-judge panel of the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act deprives gay couples of the rights and privileges granted to heterosexual couples. The court didn't rule on the law's provision that states without same-sex marriage cannot be forced to recognise gay unions performed in states where it's legal, nor whether gay couples have a constitutional right to marry. The court agreed with a lower court judge who in 2010 concluded that the law interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns. The case is now likely to head to the Supreme Court.
Credit: GayNZ.com Daily News staff
First published: Friday, 1st June 2012 - 11:25am
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