A federal judge in Connecticut has ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violates the Constitutional rights of gay and lesbian couples.

DOMA is the 1996 law which bars federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay couples.

In Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management, Judge Vanessa Bryant ruled that Section 3 of DOMA violates equal protection guarantees.

In her 104-page ruling issued Tuesday, Judge Bryant concluded that the “Court finds that no conceivable rational basis exists for the provision.”

“The provision therefore violates the equal protection principles incorporated in the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

Lead plaintiff Joanne Pedersen, a federal retiree, was denied when she attempted to add her wife Ann Meitzen to her health insurance.

The House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) has intervened in at least 12 DOMA-related cases – including Pedersen – since President Barack Obama instructed the Department of Justice to no longer defend the law in court.

However, BLAG has racked up nothing but losses with courts in California, New York, Massachusetts and now Connecticut ruling against DOMA.

House lawyers are expected to appeal the decision.