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Holder Won’t Defend Limit on Gay Servicemember Benefits

by Nedra Pickler
Friday Feb 17, 2012

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Obama administration is extending its decision to stop defending an anti-gay marriage law to provisions affecting same-sex couples in the military.

The 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act requires the Pentagon to ignore same-sex marriages even if they were legally obtained in a state that allows them. A group of married gay service members and veterans sued in U.S. District Court in Boston last fall arguing the law is unconstitutional and they are entitled to spousal benefits.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced a year ago that President Barack Obama determined DOMA is legally indefensible, reversing a policy of defending the law in litigation. On Friday he wrote to congressional leaders saying the administration reached the same conclusion for lawsuits like the one in Boston involving military personnel.

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