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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, and author of the bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), applauded the decision released today by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals which found that “Section 3 of DOMA violates equal protection and is therefore unconstitutional.”
“Now it’s six in a row,” said Nadler. “Yesterday, we found out Speaker Boehner had already wasted $1.5 million taxpayer dollars losing five DOMA cases in a row. Today, we learned that a sixth court has just ruled DOMA unconstitutional.”
“As the amicus brief I spearheaded in this case pointed out, and as the court agreed, there is no justification for denying Edie Windsor the same right as all other spouses to her full inheritance without paying a tax penalty,” continued Nadler. “Edie lives in my congressional district, and was with her wife, Thea Spyer, for 44 years. The last thing she should have to worry about following the loss of her spouse is an unjust tax penalty imposed for no other reason than the fact that she and her wife were the same gender. Now is the time to stop defending this unjust law and repeal it once and for all. I hope today’s ruling brings us one step closer to that goal,” Nadler said.
Congressman Nadler is the author of the Respect for Marriage Act to repeal DOMA, and spearheaded an amicus brief joined by 144 Members of Congress in the Windsor case.
The Second Circuit found Section 3 of DOMA, which defines “marriage” for the purposes of federal law as the union between one man and one woman, as unconstitutional. It did so on the ground that laws like DOMA that discriminate against gay men and lesbians should be the subject to a standard of “intermediate scrutiny” and that DOMA could not withstand that standard of review. This is particularly notable, as this decision, in Windsor, is the first decision by a Circuit Court to hold that classifications based on sexual orientation are subject to such heightened scrutiny, as opposed to the lower “rational basis” test.
Today’s decision upheld the decision of the District Court for the Southern District of New York which held that the government’s denial of the marital deduction to same sex spouses was unconstitutional.