Vermont Joins States In Challenging Anti-Gay Marriage Law

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The state of Vermont is joining two other states to ask a federal court to strike down the law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell says the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, denies same-sex couples of a wide range of federal benefits.

Three years ago this month Vermont became the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through legislative means rather than litigation. But married same-sex couples in Vermont are not eligible for federal benefits. Now, Vermont unites with New York and Connecticut in filing a brief urging the court to end what Sorrell calls a discriminatory practice.

"These married couples – our friends and neighbors in Vermont – have every right to fair and equal treatment by the federal government," Sorrell said. "Instead, they are denied Social Security benefits, tax exemptions, and health and retirement benefits."  

Last year, President Obama directed the Department of Justice to stop defending DOMA. And earlier this year, a federal judge in Massachusetts ruled the law is unconstitutional.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Earlier: The Path To Same-Sex Marriage In Vermont

VPR News: For Seventh Time In Vermont History, A Successful Veto Override

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