Late Friday, in what some political talking heads are calling a surprising move, the Obama administration formally urged the Supreme Court to overturn the Defense Of Marriage Act! Details follow after the jump.
Responding to the case United States v. Windsor, brought by Edith Windsor—who has been challenging DOMA since the death of her wife— Solicitor General Donald Verrilli cites Section 3 of DOMA, which says the federal government will not recognize same-sex marriages, as a violation of the Constitution. Verrilli writes that DOMA also deserves “heightened scrutiny” because of the history of discrimination faced by gay Americans.
The brief, in part, reads:
“Gay and lesbian people are a minority group with limited political power. Although some of the harshest and most overt forms of discrimination against gay and lesbian people have receded, that progress has hardly been uniform (either temporally or geographically), and has in significant respects been the result of judicial enforcement of the Constitution, not political action.”
The brief also states that arguments made that DOMA protects the institution of marriage and its perceived purpose of procreation are flawed. (Told ya, NOM.)
"Even apart from the expert consensus that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are as likely to be well adjusted as children raised by heterosexual parents, Section 3 does nothing to promote responsible opposite-sex parenting or to prevent irresponsible same-sex parenting. Denying federal benefits to married same-sex couples creates no additional incentive for heterosexual couples to marry, procreate, or raise children together; nor does it disturb any state-conferred parental rights for same-sex couples," the brief went on to note.
Edith Windsor is suing for nearly $363,000, equal to the federal estate tax she had to pay upon the death of her partner. Had DOMA not been in place and same-sex marriage recognized by the federal government, Windsor would not have been taxed on the inheritance, a tax benefit currently given to heterosexual married couples in the U.S.