Authors: Joshua Cohan
(BOSTON) – A federal appeals court in Boston has ruled unconstitutional a key portion of the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law that defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
The appeals court ruled that the law discriminates against marriage of same-sex couples -- saying that it keeps them from getting federal benefits.
The court left untouched the power of states to enact same-sex marriage laws and to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages done in other states.
The suit was brought by legally wed gay couples in Massachusetts, seeking the more than 1,000 benefits due to married couples under federal law. They include the right to file a joint tax return, and, for government workers, to have their spouses receive federal insurance benefits.
The appeals court says only the Supreme Court can eventually decide the issue. And it puts the ruling on hold to allow Supreme Court justices to consider the case.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio