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NY’s Attorney General supports Edie Windsor‘s challenge to DOMA

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Now that same-sex marriages are legal in New York, New Yorkers who get married are facing discrimination from the federal government via DOMA. Today, the Attorney General of New York made it clear that DOMA has to go. Eric Schneiderman's office filed an amicus brief in support of Edie Windsor's motion for summary judgment in her DOMA case.

From the press release:

In papers filed in the case of Windsor v. United States, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today challenged the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), which redefined marriage for federal purposes to exclude same-sex unions that are valid under state law. The papers—filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York— ask the federal court to accept the Attorney General’s friend-of-the-court brief, which argues that DOMA violates same-sex couples’ right to equal protection under the law as required by the U.S. Constitution. This legal action, which follows Attorney General Schneiderman's pledge last summer to join the court battle over DOMA, follows the historic enactment of the Marriage Equality Act of 2011.

“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,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “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.”

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.
Thank you, Eric Schneiderman. The brief is here.

And, this is how the "Summary of Argument" in the brief begins:
By refusing to recognize for federal purposes marriages that are valid under state law, DOMA intrudes on matters historically within the control of the States, and undermines and denigrates New York’s law designed to ensure equality of same-sex and different-sex married couples. Thus DOMA threatens basic principles of federalism. Moreover, it classifies and determines access to rights, benefits, and protections based on sexual orientation, and also based on sex.

For each of these reasons, considered separately or together, DOMA should be subjected to heightened scrutiny under the equal protection component of the Fifth Amendment, and it cannot withstand such scrutiny.
Take that John Boehner and Paul Clement. They must be really wracking up some big-time (taxpayer funded) legal fees defending DOMA.

Good to have the NY AG on the same team as Edie, Roberta Kaplan and the ACLU.

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