A federal appeals court in New York has become the nation's second court to rule that the Defense Of Marriage Act is unconstitutional. The law was passed in 1996 and it bars federal recognition of same-sex marriages and says states cannot be forced to recognize same-sex marriages from other states.

The court determined that the federal law violates the Constitution's equal protection clause. A federal appeals court in Boston made a similar ruling this spring. These ruling are viewed as symbolic as the issue is expected to be eventually decided by the U.S.Supreme Court.

Maine is one of four states that will be voting on a referendum on same-sex marriage this November.