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Philadelphia Gay Leader Praises White House About-Face On Gay Marriage

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Gay rights activists in Philadelphia and elsewhere are praising President Obama's decision to stop supporting the "Defense of Marriage Act."  That's the federal law that bans recognition of same-sex marriages (see related story).

"I would liken it to the Emancipation Proclamation," says Malcolm Lazin, executive director of Equality Forum, a national gay rights organization based in Philadelphia.  He calls President Obama's move a milestone.

"It is a document approved by the president of the United States that sets forth a hugely important civil rights statement that will have broad impact for gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgendered Americans," he told KYW Newsradio today.

Lazin says that right now, even gay couples legally married in the states that allow it have no access to Social Security or the more than a thousand other federal benefits given to spouses in straight marriages.

The US Supreme Court is expected to get the final word.

Reported by Margie Smith, KYW Newsradio 1060.

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