The Boston Globe reports that the Boston-based legal advocacy group, Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) that helped legalize same sex marriage in Massachusetts is gearing up for a fight to expand rights to same-sex married couples. A spokeswoman for the group that won the landmark 2003 Massachusetts state Supreme Judicial Court case legalizing gay marriage, stated that GLAD is taking aim at the federal Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 (DOMA). GLAD spokeswoman states that the group is targeting the provision of DOMA that denies federal recognition of wedded same-sex couples and is not trying to expand gay marriage beyond the traditionally liberal New England. GLAD has not stated whether they will file a lawsuit or urge Congress to repeal DOMA. However, for more than a year, GLAD has been surveying same-sex couples who have wed in Massachusetts to see whether they want federal benefits currently provided only to married heterosexual couples, including Social Security, payments to families of public safety officers killed in the line of duty, burial in Arlington cemetery, and family leave under federal law.
The Defense of Marriage Act, states that no state need recognize gay marriage from another state and denies hundreds of federal benefits to same-sex spouses. Therefore, California need not, and does not, recognize the marriage of same-sex couples. Although same-sex couples in California can register as domestic partners and receive state-level benefits, California does not yet recognize a marital union in the legal sense between same-sex couples states San Jose family law attorneys. The California Supreme Court is considering challenges to the constitutionality of law prohibiting same-sex marriage in the state, however, as of September 2007, the Court has not yet calendared the matter for oral argument.