NY judge finds marriage law unconstitutional

NEW YORK (AP) - A New York judge has joined several other federal judges across the country in striking down a key component of a federal law denying benefits to partners in a gay marriage.

Judge Barbara Jones ruled Wednesday in a case brought in federal court in Manhattan by a woman whose partner died in 2009. She awarded $353,000 to the plaintiff, Edith Windsor. Lawyers for Windsor had argued that the law violates the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution.

The judge said the law fails because it tries to re-examine states' decisions concerning same-sex marriage. She said such a sweeping review interferes with a system of government that places matters at the core of the domestic relations law exclusively within the province of the states.