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The decision came on the same day that a federal district court judge in Massachusetts ruled that a portion of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which limited the definition of marriage to a man and a woman for purposes of federal laws, was unconstitutional. At stake are more than 1,000 federal marriage-based benefits that are given to heterosexual couples but not same-sex couples.

“In the wake of DOMA, it is only sexual orientation that differentiates a married couple entitled to federal marriage-based benefits from one not so entitled,” U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro wrote. “And this court can conceive of no way in which such a difference might be relevant to the provision of the benefits at issue.” 

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