NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Joins Suit Challenging DOMA

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has filed briefs in the Edie Windsor lawsuit challenging the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Writes the AG's office in a press release:

Schneiderman Schneiderman filed the papers in federal court in support of the plaintiff’s motion for summary judgment in the case of Windsor v. United States. The plaintiff, Edie Windsor, was married in Canada in 2007 to her partner, Thea Spyer, who died two years later.

Following Spyer’s death, the federal government refused to acknowledge the couple’s marriage under DOMA and taxed the resulting inheritance accordingly. Windsor then filed suit, challenging the constitutionality of DOMA and seeking a refund of the estate taxes she was forced to pay as a result of the federal government’s refusal to recognize her marriage.

In the amicus curiae brief, Schneiderman argues that in redefining the term marriage, Section 3 of DOMA violates the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment’s Due Process Clause, and must therefore be invalidated. He goes on to argue that the statute is an improper intrusion on the traditional role of states in defining marriage; that it discriminates based on sex and sexual orientation and therefore must be subjected to heightened scrutiny; and that DOMA fails any level of scrutiny because it does not advance any legitimate federal interest.

Said Schneiderman: “The federal Defense of Marriage Act clearly violates the principle of equal justice under law as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and improperly intrudes on the traditional role of states in defining marriage. The State of New York has long recognized out-of-state, same-sex marriages and the enactment of the Marriage Equality Act further cements our state’s position on this critical civil rights issue. My office will fight every day to defend the fundamental guarantee of equal protection under law for all New Yorkers.”

Read the Schneiderman brief HERE (PDF).