A Collaboration with University of Pittsburgh   

DOJ asks Supreme Court to consider two more challenges to DOMA

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) on Tuesday filed petitions in the US Supreme Court [official websites] asking them to consider two additional challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) [text]. The recent petitions [Reuters report] bring the number of cases challenging DOMA in the Supreme Court to four. These petitions argue that section 3 of DOMA, which denies federal marriage benefits to lawfully married same-sex couples, is an unconstitutional interference in a state's right to define marriage. The first petition is a challenge brought by Edie Windsor whose same-sex marriage was recognized in New York, but not by the federal government under DOMA. When her spouse died, she was required to pay over $360,000 in federal estate taxes while married couples are exempt from this tax. The second challenge is a less publicized case that involves six same-sex couples and one widower who have been denied federal benefits under the law. In both the first case and the second case [opinions, PDF], DOMA has been held unconstitutional by federal courts and are currently on appeal.

This is the most recent development in the ongoing same-sex marriage [JURIST backgrounder] debate. Earlier this week several groups joined Windsor's challenge [JURIST report]. In August the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders [advocacy website] asked [JURIST report] the Supreme Court to review the second case mentioned above. In July a lesbian couple filed a lawsuit in the US District Court for the Central District of California [official website] in a DOMA challenge that seeks to achieve for gay and lesbian couples the same federal immigration rights afforded to heterosexual couples [JURIST report] under the Immigration and Nationality Act [materials] In addition, JURIST has published two editorials related to DOMA earlier this month. The first focuses the potential constitutional flaws of DOMA [JURIST comment] and the second discusses the deeper federalism issues that are contained in the law [JURIST op-ed].

Support JURIST

We rely on our readers to keep JURIST running

 Donate now!

About Paper Chase

Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

© Copyright JURIST Legal News and Research Services, Inc., 2013.