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Suit targets U.S. Defense of Marriage Act

BOSTON -- A group of gay active and retired military personnel who are married sued the federal government Thursday for the same benefits as straight military couples, arguing it's a matter of justice and national security.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Boston says the federal Defense of Marriage Act violates their constitutional rights and asks the military to recognize their marriages and provide spousal benefits.

Under the Defense of Marriage Act, the Pentagon must ignore same-sex marriages, which are legal in six states and Washington, D.C., and were legal for a time in California.

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of eight service members, said in a statement that it's about "justice for gay and lesbian service members and their families in our armed forces rendering the same military service, making the same sacrifices, and taking the same risks to keep our nation secure at home and abroad."

Elaine Donnelly, president Center for Military Readiness, which opposed the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," said the lawsuit is an attempt to impose throughout the military a definition of marriage that's accepted in just a handful of states.

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