Huffpost Politics

DOMA Targeted By Democrats As More Than 100 House Members File Brief Against Law

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More than 100 House Democrats filed a new amicus brief in the federal case against the Defense of Marriage Act on Friday, according to a statement issued by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

(Scroll down to read the document.)

Here's an excerpt of the release:

Washington D.C. – Today, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congressman John Conyers, Congressman Barney Frank, Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, Congressman Jared Polis, Congressman David N. Cicilline and other House Democrats filed an Amicus Brief in the case of Edith Schlain Windsor v. United States of America.

Pelosi, Nadler and 143 other House Members filed the brief today in this landmark case, which has reached the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit following a U.S. District Court ruling that Section 3 of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional. Last year, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder reached the same conclusion and announced that the Department of Justice would no longer defend the law in certain court cases. By a divided 3-2 vote of the House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) with Pelosi and Hoyer strongly objecting, Speaker John Boehner hired outside lawyers to defend DOMA in court at considerable taxpayer expense.

Edith "Edie" Windsor, 83, a constituent of Rep. Nadler's in New York City, challenged DOMA in court after the federal government taxed her more than $363,000 when her spouse, Thea Spyer, passed away in 2009. Edie and Thea first met in 1963 and married in 2007 after an engagement that lasted more than 40 years. Yet, when Thea died, the federal government treated them as complete strangers because of DOMA, significantly reducing Edie's inheritance by depriving her of the marital deduction that otherwise allows a married couple to pass property to the surviving spouse without tax penalty.

Meanwhile, House Republicans are still standing behind the measure. HuffPost's Jennifer Bendery reported last month:

[House Majority Whip Kevin] McCarthy, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) have been defending the federal ban on same-sex marriage since March 2011, when Attorney General Eric Holder deemed it unconstitutional and stopped defending it. They hired outside counsel to defend the law on behalf of the House of Representatives and, so far, have spent at least $742,000 doing so. But as of Tuesday, they marked their fifth consecutive loss in federal court when a Connecticut judge threw out the law as unconstitutional.

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