Two separate legal challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act were filed today. The first, brought forward by the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), was filed today in Connecticut representing plaintiffs from Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire.
The lawsuit is challenging the constitutionality of DOMA’s Section 3, which prohibits federal acknowledgment of same-sex marriages performed where such marriages are legal. The lawsuit specifically addresses couples married in Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, according to GLAD.
A Massachusetts federal district court ruled this summer that DOMA’s Section 3 was unconstitutional in a similar case, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management. The Obama administration is appealing the judge’s ruling.
A second lawsuit, filed by the ACLU today, addresses the case of Edie Windsor, an 81-year-old widow who was forced to pay more than $250,000 in estate taxes after her wife’s death because the government did not recognize their marriage. If Windsor’s marriage had been recognized by the federal government, her deceased partner could have passed on her estate tax-free.
The ALCU’s case was filed in New York, which does not have marriage equality. The state does, however, recognize same-sex marriages performed in other jurisdictions.
Windsor was the subject of a documentary, “Edie and Thea: A Very Long Documentary,” that highlighted her legal struggles.
The ACLU is asking that Section 3 is unconstitutional. Windsor is also seeking $350,000 from the IRS, according to the ACLU.