For the second time in a month, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Tauro heard arguments urging him to strike down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which bans gay marriage. On Wednesday, Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Maura T. Healey argued that DOMA forces the state to discriminate against same-sex couples or risk losing millions in federal aid. Citing an example, Healey advised the court that if the state allows Vietnam War veteran Darrel Hopkins and his husband, Tom Casey Hopkins to be buried in a veterans’ cemetery, as the couple has requested, the Department of Veteran’s Services could lose federal funding. Healey argued that while the state of Massachusetts has approved the couple’s request, the federal government has “told us clearly and explicitly” that DOMA prohibits it. Arguing on behalf of the federal government, Justice Department Attorney Christopher R. Hall stated that, while the Obama administration opposes DOMA, the administration is obligated to defend laws that have been constitutionally enacted by Congress. Both sides in the lawsuit have asked Tauro to rule in their favor, without a trial. Tauro is expected to issue a ruling in the coming weeks.
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