From The Guardian UK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/25/doma-ruled-unconstitutional-denying-benefits
District court judge in California is third federal judge to issue a similar ruling over 1996 Defence of Marriage Act
A federal judge has boosted the campaign for gay marriage by overturning a law which denied federal benefits to same-sex couples.
Claudia Wilken, a district court judge for the northern district of California, ruled on Thursday that congress acted unconstitutionally in discriminating against gay couples in the 1996 Defence of Marriage Act (Doma).
Wilken became the first judge to rule against the controversial legislation since President Barack Obama threw his weight behind gay marriage earlier this month.
Gay rights campaigners welcomed the ruling. “This adds to the momentum for overturning this radical and discriminatory law,” said Evan Wolfson, of Freedom to Marry, an advocacy group.
Wilken, a Clinton-era appointee based in Oakland, a liberal bastion, was the third federal judge to find Doma unconstitutional following a ruling by judge Joseph Tauro in Massachusetts in 2010 and one by judge Jeffrey White in California earlier this year. That ruling is under appeal and is due to go before a circuit court of appeals in September. Thursday’s ruling is also expected to be appealed.
Doma, which was championed by opponents of gay marriage, defines marriage as “a legal union of a one man and one woman as husband and wife”. It withholds multiple federal benefits, including joint tax filing and immigration sponsorship, from gay couples legally married under state law.