Gay and lesbian service members and veterans plan to file suit Thursday challenging the constitutionality of the federal ban on gay marriage and federal policy that define a spouse as a person of the opposite sex.
The suit comes five weeks after the Pentagon ended its ban on gays in the military.
Lawyers plan to sue in federal district court in Boston, the same court that ruled last year that the federal Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional because it interferes with a state’s right to define marriage. That decision is being appealed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit.
The 1996 law bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages performed in states that allow them.
The suit also challenges provisions of federal code regarding spouses that lawyers said bar gay couples from accessing benefits provided by the Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Those benefits include military identification cards, access to bases, recreational programs, spousal support groups and burial rights at national cemeteries.