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Midstaters play jury in upcoming Supreme Court DOMA hearing - abc27 WHTM

Midstaters play jury in upcoming Supreme Court DOMA hearing

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) -

It is a debate decades old and one that is still being held in the midstate. Should there be a constitutional right for same-sex partners to marry?

A petition to appeal a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) appears to be laying the ground work.

Married couples get 1,138 benefits, rights and protections. But because of the DOMA, people in same sex marriages do not get those benefits. A petition filed to the Supreme Court Friday could be a sign that the federal government is getting ready to change that.

The possibility is heating up the debate in the midstate.

"It's gonna change society. It erodes our family values," said Shelly Taylor of Etters.

"Same sex marriage does not destroy the pillars of society, does not cause the world to end," said Ted Martin, the Equality PA Chief Advocate.

Gay rights advocates say appealing DOMA is not about beliefs, it is about rights.

"Same sex couples can be together for years and still be forced to pay 15% inheritance tax upon the death of one of the members of the relationship," said Martin. "That's an awful thing."

Midstaters are torn on the controversial issue.

"If we love each other and we care for each other, they should have the same rights as heterosexual individuals," said Suzanne Heller of Friedens.

"Everybody wants to do their own thing without any standards, without any morals, without any values," said Taylor. "And we are seeing the offshoot of that and the effects of that in our society."

The Supreme Court is getting ready to take on the issue.

Meanwhile, midstaters are playing jury.

"It says that the full weight of the government is there and that hopefully that will make the supreme court or help the Supreme Court see why DOMA is so wrong," said Martin.

"To try to override it is just a liberal, political act," said Taylor.

The Supreme Court will start the DOMA hearing at the end of March. A ruling is expected some time in June.

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