By Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Dozens packed into an auditorium at the National Constitution center for an Equality Forum panel discussion on the issues facing the LGBT community.

Split into two sessions, legal and political, experts shared stories and answered questions from the audience.

Speaker Janson Wu, a lawyer from New England, says the elephant in the room is gay marriage which isn’t protected even in states where it’s legal.

“There’s still the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which is a federal law that says, ‘even if you’re married in Massachusetts, we’re going to pretend that you’re not married at the federal level.’ And that’s hurting a lot of families and children.”

As a result, he says, some couples have paid an additional $50,000 or more in income tax because they can’t file jointly.

The panel discussion is just one of dozens of Equality Forum events planned this weekend, ending with Sunday Out at the Piazza. More information at

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