NEW YORK - A US appeals court in New York on Thursday ruled that a US law defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman unconstitutionally denies federal benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York is now the second federal appeals court to reject a portion of the law. It upheld a lower court ruling that had found a central part of the law unconstitutional.

The same-sex marriage issue could be taken up by the US Supreme Court in its current term.

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