A pair of new lawsuits — one each from Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders and the American Civil Liberties Union — are taking on the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal law behind fun things like not being able to file joint tax returns and not being able to sponsor your partner for immigration papers.
The two new lawsuits, which involve plaintiffs from New York, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, expand the attack geographically and also encompass more of the 1,138 federal laws and regulations that the Defense of Marriage Act potentially affects — including the insurance costs amounting to several hundred dollars a month in the case of [Joanne Pedersen and Ann Meitzen, pictured, who were denied shared federal health insurance], and a $350,0000 estate tax payment in the A.C.L.U. case.
The civil liberties union filed suit on behalf of Edith S. Windsor, whose spouse, Thea C. Spyer, died last year of aortic stenosis. The two women, New Yorkers who had been together for 44 years, married in Toronto in 2007. New York officially recognizes same-sex marriages performed in other states. Had the two been man and wife, there would have been no federal estate tax to pay.
And if you’re wondering how the Obama administration will react, it’ll go like this: He believes DOMA to be discriminatory, and would love to see a legislative repeal of the law. At some point.
In the meantime, Windsor and Spyer — who appeared in the documentary Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement — would like a check for $350,000, OKTHXBI.