Edie Windsor of New York is the plaintiff in one of the cases submitted Tuesday. Windsor married her partner of forty years, Thea Spyer, in Canada in 2007. After Spyer died, Windsor received a bill from the federal government for $363,000 in estate taxes, as reported by Reuters. Windsor said that if “Thea had been Theo,” she would have obtained her spouse’s estate without taxes, states the Huffington Post.
A U.S. District Court judge in Manhattan agreed with Windsor and ruled that Section Three of DOMA discriminated against married same-sex couples. This decision joins federal court rulings in California and Massachusetts that also decided the law unconstitutional.
In addition to Windsor’s case, DOJ also submitted a case regarding six same-sex couples and one widower who have been deprived federal benefits because of DOMA. A district judge in Connecticut ruled in their favor in July, and the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a legal rights organization, filed a request in August that the Supreme Court takes the appeal, reports Reuters.
These cases are the third and fourth that have been submitted by the U.S. government requesting the Supreme Court to review DOMA’s constitutionality.
The Obama Administration announced in February 2011 that it would no longer defend DOMA because it did not believe the law to be constitutional. The Republican majority in the U.S. House of Representatives thus appointed the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group to defend the law.
Take Action: Please click here to tell your representatives that you support marriage equality. It is imperative that more states grant equal rights to same-sex couples. As equality is broadened throughout the nation, it is our hope that federal district courts will continue to rule DOMA unconstitutional and the Supreme Court will feel increased pressure to review the law’s constitutionality.