November 9, 2010
Two (more) challenges to DOMA
The complaint in Pedersen v. Office of Personnel Management is filed in the District of Connecticut on behalf of five same-sex couples and one survivor of a same-sex couple in Connecticut, New Hamshire and Vermont. The injuries include denials of federal employees and retirees benefits, Social Security benefits, survivor benefits under federal pension laws, and work leave to care for a spouse under the Family Medical Leave Act.
The complaint in Windsor v. United States is filed in the Southern District of New York on behalf of the survivor of a same-sex couple in New York who were married in Canada. Windor seeks a refund of estate taxes paid because the marriage was not recognized by the federal government.
Both complaints argue DOMA section 3 is a denial of equal protection. In Judge Tauro's decision in Gill v. Office of Personnel Management, he applied rational basis and found that the government interests - - - the interests used to support the original 1996 DOMA statute and the interest of maintaining the status quo used by the OBAMA DOJ to support the litigation - - - were problematic.
Two additional judges will be deciding whether or not they agree.
And, as the NYT reports, the Obama DOJ will have to decide whether to continue its support of DOMA despite some indications to the contrary.
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