September 18, 2009, Newsletter Issue #153: Federal vs. State Laws Concerning Gay Marriage

Tip of the Week

in 1996, the United States government passed the Defense of Marriage Act. This act explicitly defines marriage as a union of one man and one woman. As a result, no portion of the federal government recognizes same-sex marriage legally. However, existing marriage laws in certain states are separate from the federal laws. This means that the Defense of Marriage Act does not necessarily have to apply in certain states. They are able to define marriage as they deem fit. The result is that certain states in our union have passed states laws recognizing same-sex marriage, although these marriages are still not recognized by the federal government.

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