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Defense of Marriage Act Provision Poses Serious Legal Obstacles to Married Same-Sex Clients, ABA Brief States

CHICAGO, March 1, 2013 – In an amicus brief filed today, the _ is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider the “serious obstacles” that Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act imposes on lawyers’ clients who are same-sex couples legally married under state law.

The brief, filed in U.S. v. Windsor, et al., describes Section 3’s impact on the federal rights and responsibilities of these clients in areas that include retirement and estate planning, health care, taxation, military benefits, ethical obligations and immigration. The brief advises that Section 3, which defines marriage as only between one man and one woman, results in unprecedented and discriminatory burdens on legally married same-sex couples that are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of equal protection.

The brief also cites the ABA’s advocacy over the past 40 years to eliminate discrimination against gay and lesbian people. The brief is available online here.

With nearly 400,000 members, the _ is one of the largest voluntary professional membership organizations in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.