More than a dozen gay couples are taking the federal government to court over the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The law makes them ineligible to file joint tax returns.
The couples say the act discriminates against gay couples and is unconstitutional because it denies them access to federal benefits that married couples receive, such as pensions and health insurance.
Plaintiffs include Dean Hara, the widower of former U.S. Rep. Gerry Studds, the first openly gay member of the House of Representatives. Another plaintiff is Massachusetts State Police trooper Mary Ritchie, who has been married for almost five years to Kathleen Bush.
Ritchie says she and her spouse have paid nearly $15,000 more in taxes than they would have if they had been able to file joint returns.