An attorney for married gay couples has argued that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it treats same-sex married couples differently than heterosexual couples.
Mary Bonauto, an attorney with Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, said in federal court in Boston on Thursday that the law denies gay couples an array of federal benefits, including the financial advantages of filing joint tax returns.
U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro heard arguments on the government's request to dismiss the lawsuit, and on a request from the gay couples to find the law unconstitutional.
A Justice Department lawyer says the Obama administration wants the act repealed, but that the department is obliged to defend the constitutionality of laws passed by Congress.
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