via EDGE Boston, by Denise Lavoi
A judge’s rulings in Massachusetts that the federal law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional could have implications far beyond the state if they’re upheld by a higher court after an appeal by the Obama administration, legal experts say.
U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro said the law, the Defense of Marriage Act, interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and therefore denies married gay couples some federal benefits. He ruled Thursday in favor of gay couples’ rights in two separate challenges to DOMA, which the administration of President Barack Obama has argued for repealing.
The rulings apply to Massachusetts, but if a higher court with a broader jurisdiction were to hear an appeal and agree with the judge’s rulings, their impact would spread, said Boston College professor Kent Greenfield, a constitutional law expert. The rulings might encourage other attorneys general who oppose DOMA to sue to try to knock it down, he said.
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