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Defense Of Marriage Act Ruled Unconstitutional By Second Federal Judge

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OAKLAND, Calif. -- A second federal judge in California has struck down a law denying benefits to partners in a gay marriage.

U.S. District Judge Claudia Wilken says the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act violated constitutional standards when it denied federal benefits to same-sex spouses married under California law and barred domestic partners of state workers from long-term health coverage.

Wilken says both laws were based on what she calls "moral condemnation" of same-sex couples.

A San Francisco judge also declared the federal law unconstitutional in February in a separate case. That ruling is under appeal and will go before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in September.

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