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District Court Judge Hears Arguments in Massachusetts

Oral arguments are heard in Boston by Judge Joseph Tauro in the Massachusetts case.  During the hearing, Assistant Attorney General Maura Healey underscores the Commonwealth’s argument that states, and not the federal government, have historically controlled the definition of marriage in the United States.  Healey also asserts that DOMA “forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens.”

Christopher Hall, representing the United States, argues that the federal government has the right to set the requirements for eligibility for federal benefits.  He also makes the claim that DOMA attempted to “freeze the status quo and let the democratic process work itself out at the state level.”  During argument, Judge Tauro expresses skepticism with this status quo argument, saying that Congress could have maintained the status quo of state-based definitions without passing DOMA and allowing states to make their own decisions on marriage equality.

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