House Of Representatives Will Defend Discriminatory Defense Of Marriage Act After Administration Rejects It

March 9, 2011 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH), today announced that the House of Representatives will defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. Last month, the Obama administration announced that the president had concluded that a key section of DOMA is unconstitutional and that the administration would no longer defend the discriminatory law in litigation challenging the statute.

One of the lawsuits affected by the administration’s announcement was filed in November 2010 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and the New York Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Edith “Edie” Windsor, who shared her life with her late spouse, Thea Spyer, for 44 years. Windsor challenged the federal government’s refusal under DOMA to recognize her marriage and the imposition of a $363,000 tax on Spyer’s estate when she died. Windsor would not have had to pay the tax if she had been married to a man.

The following can be attributed to Christopher Anders, ACLU Senior Policy Counsel:

“Two months after swearing to uphold the Constitution, the House is moving to undermine it. Discrimination cannot and should not be the policy of our government. DOMA singles out lawfully married same-sex couples for discriminatory treatment under the law and this law has serious consequences for thousands of real American families. Congress should be protecting those families by repealing DOMA, not defending it.”

The following can be attributed to Edie Windsor:

“I am obviously disappointed that the House of Representatives has decided to defend a law that is so clearly unjust, leaving me with a $363,000 estate tax bill that I should never have had to pay.”

To learn more about Edie’s case, go to:

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