Speaker Of The House Says He’ll Decide Next Week Whether To Defend Discriminatory Defense Of Marriage Act

March 4, 2011 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The Speaker of the House, John Boehner (R-OH), issued a statement today stating that he would announce next week whether the House of Representatives will defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court. On February 23, the Obama administration announced the president had concluded that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional and that the Department of Justice would no longer defend the discriminatory law in court.

In November 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union, the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and the New York Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against the federal government on behalf of Edith “Edie” Windsor, who shared her life with her late spouse, Thea Spyer, for 44 years. Windsor sued the federal government for refusing to recognize their marriage under DOMA and imposing a $350,000 tax on Spyer’s estate when she died that Windsor would not have had to pay if she were married to a man. The administration stated that it would not defend DOMA in Windsor’s case.

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

“Because of DOMA, the 80,000 married same-sex American couples living, working and paying taxes across the country face daily discrimination that harms their entire families. We strongly urge the House not to defend what is not only an unconstitutional law but a law that has serious consequences for real people. Instead of defending DOMA, Congress should focus on repealing this unjust statute.”

To learn more about Edie’s case, go to: www.aclu.org/edie

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