Not Under My Canopy: Mass. Sues Over Federal Defense of Marriage Act Law

By Joel Zand on July 08, 2009 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Do you have a federal marriage license? You don't have to be a lawyer to know the answer.

Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley sued the federal government today to remind Congress that the Defense of Marriage Act ('DOMA') is an unconstitutional attempt to interefere with the state's authority to define marriage as it chooses.

Under the Tenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, states were granted the legal authority to marry couples, not the federal government.

Coakley also contends that, under DOMA, Massachusetts citizens in same-sex marriages can be denied eligibility for Medicaid benefits, veterans' cemetary funding for the state would treat married gay and lesbian couples differently.

Attorney General Coakley (center), pictured with Assistant Attorney General Jonathan B. Miller, and Maura T. Healey, Chief of Attorney General's Civil Rights Division. Photo credit: Attorney General of Massachusetts

You can read the Massachusetts lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of DOMA here:

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