More than a dozen gay couples in Massachusetts are suing the federal government.
They say the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional and discriminates against gay couples because it denies them things heterosexual couples get from the government, like pensions and health insurance.
Is this lawsuit paving the way for legalizing gay marriage across the country? Click here mms:/184.108.40.206/News/Incoming/N03DOMAWEB.wmv to listen to more from the Alliance Defene Fund's Brian Raum.
The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court, is not challenging the whole act -- just the portion of law preventing the government from giving same-sex couples Social Security and other benefits.
Is this lawsuit paving the way for legalizing gay marriage across the country? Click here to listen to more from the Alliance Defene Fund's Brian Raum.
The National Organization for Marriage is vowing to fight any effort to redefine marriage.
NOM President Maggie Gallagher said marriage should not be a political or partisan issue.
"The American people do not want the courts or the Democrats to misuse this crisis to overturn their cherished values on marriage and we intend to make that crystal clear to Washington," she said.
Opponents of same sex marriage say the lawsuit is part of a plan to impose gay marriage on the rest of the country.
DOMA was enacted by Congress in 1996 when it appeared Hawaii would soon legalize same-sex marriage.
Only Massachusetts and Connecticut allow gay marriage. Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey and New Hampshire allow civil unions.
President Obama has already promised to work to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.
Source: The Associated Press