Three states now have filed federal lawsuits to upend the vicious Defense of Marriage Act. In addition to New York and Connecticut, now Vermont has entered this sadly necessary legal battle.
The suit centers on the idea that DOMA violates the Constitution's Fourteenth Amendment Equal Protection Clause because that law has the effect of giving married heterosexual couples federal protections and benefits denied to legally married same-sex couples. This amounts, says the attorneys general of these states, to illegal discrimination.
Specifically, Vermont has filed a brief in a case brought by a lesbian woman in New York who, because federal law does not deem her marriage valid, had to pay $350,000 in estate taxes upon her partner's death. New York's attorney general filed on the woman's behalf last year ago, arguing that had the federl government recognized her marriage, her tax hit would have been less.
The Obama Administration has stopped defending DOMA in the courts as has the 125-year-old prestigious Atlanta law firm (King & Spalding) originally hired by House Republicans to defend the law. Since then a number of federal courts have ruled DOMA unconstitutional, the latest coming this year in Massachusetts (where same-sex marriage is legal).
I have no doubt that, even if DOMA survives this suit, it will fall in my lifetime. Justice demands it and Justice, over time, always wins.