City Supports Suit Challenging Defense of Marriage Act

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on Wednesday said they will jointly support one widow’s challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

In a statement, the two said they will file a joint amicus brief in support of  Edith "Edie" Windsor. She sued the government in 2010 after she was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes when her partner of over 40 years died. The two women were married in Canada in 2007.

Windsor, 82, didn't qualify for the unlimited marital deduction on her spouse's estate because gay marriage is not recognized by the federal government.

“We believe that DOMA is unconstitutional because it deprives married gay New Yorkers of equal protection of the laws, and we are filing a brief to support the case against it,” said Mayor Bloomberg.

“As Courts across the country continue to strike down DOMA’s unconstitutional assault on our civil liberties, I’m proud to join Mayor Bloomberg and the chorus of voices that have called to repeal DOMA once and for all,” said Quinn, who recently married her partner.

A federal judge ruled in Windsor’s favor earlier this month. While the Obama administration has declined to defend DOMA in court, the House of Representatives' Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group appointed an attorney to represent the government in the case. Lawyers for the ACLU expect them to appeal the decision.

The friend-of-the-court papers is expected to support Winsdor’s claim that DOMA violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.