BOSTON (AP) — The U.S. Department of Justice has filed its opening legal brief for its appeal of a decision by a judge in Massachusetts who concluded that a portion of a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
The appeal follows two rulings in July by U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro, who said the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it interferes with a state's right to define marriage and denies married gay couples an array of federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples.
The Justice Department argued in a brief filed on Thursday that the law was Congress' "reasonable response" to a debate among the states on same-sex marriage. In its brief, the Justice Department said the federal government has the right to define marriage differently than individual states.
The appeal is expected to be heard by the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston.
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