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Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)
Last Updated November 16, 2010
Federal law which defines ‘marriage’ at the federal level.
The word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and
The word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.
Additional Helpful Information
Under DOMA, no State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, is required to recognize marriage a between individuals who happen to be of the same sex, if the marriage occurred in another State.
If a State does not recognize same-sex marriage, it is not required to allow benefits that are only offered to married couples, to married couples who are of the same sex