A group of married same-sex couples in Massachusetts will challenge the Federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in federal court on Thursday. Six years ago, Massachusetts became the first state to allow same-sex marriages. DOMA, however, bars the federal government from recognizing gay marriages.
Importantly, because same sex marriages are not recognized by the federal government, those couples are not eligible for the same benefits as heterosexual married couples. In addition, one of the couples challenging DOMA alleges it has cost them over $20,000 in taxes because they cannot file joint returns.
The couples will challenge DOMA on the grounds that it cannot simply recognize some marriages while disregarding others. The suit, however, will not challenge the provision of DOMA that allows states to not recognize same sex marriages from another state.