NEW YORK (AP) — Two new lawsuits have been filed on behalf of gay and lesbian couples in four states to challenge a 1996 law denying married gay couples federal benefits.

The lawsuits were filed Tuesday in federal courts in Connecticut and New York.

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They were filed on behalf of couples in Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and New York.

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The lawsuits follow in the steps of a lawsuit in Boston. It already has resulted in a judge striking down a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

The filing of multiple lawsuits will likely result in several rulings in different federal court districts. It could increase the likelihood that the Supreme Court will eventually consider the issue.

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