BOSTON, May 26 (UPI) -- The Massachusetts Attorney General's Office Wednesday was to argue against a federal law that bans same-sex marriage, lawyers in Boston said.
Lawyers from state Attorney General Martha Coakley's office were to appear before U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro to challenge the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
In the case Commonwealth of Massachusetts v. the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the state contends the law violates the U.S. Constitution by interfering with the state's authority to define and regulate the marital status of its residents, The Boston Globe reported Wednesday.
Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in July 2009 and the first state to challenge of the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act.
The law also is being challenged in a separate federal case filed in Boston by 17 gays and lesbians who were married in Massachusetts.