Appeals Court Declares Defense of Marriage Act Unconstitutional

A Boston-based federal appeals court on Thursday declared the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, the Associated Press reported.

Instituted in 1996, DOMA defines marriage at the federal level as between one man and one woman. The Obama administration has previously said it would no longer defend the law, as officials found it discriminatory to same-sex couples.

The ruling says that the federal law undercuts "the choices made by same-sex couples and individual states in deciding who can be married to whom." Massachusetts is one of six states, and the District of Columbia, that grants marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Two of the three judges on the panel, liberal-leaning Think Progress points out, were Republican appointees.

The White House noted that President Obama and his Justice Department have long taken the position that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. "The president has concluded that section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional, so has his secretary general," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. There is "no question," Carney said, that "the ruling is in concert with the president's views."

Sophie Quinton contributed contributed to this article