Appeals Court Won’t Stall DOMA Challenge

A U.S. appeals court has dealt another setback to the Republicans in Congress who are defending the Defense of Marriage Act.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals Thursday denied the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group’s request to suspend oral arguments in lesbian widow Edith Windsor’s case against DOMA. Windsor is seeking repayment of estate taxes she would not have owed had her marriage been recognized by the federal government.

Windsor and her lawyers have asked the Supreme Court to review her case, and because of this, the Republican-led BLAG, which has tried to stall several DOMA challenges, proposed bypassing the appeals court. BLAG took up the defense of DOMA after the Obama administration declared it would no longer do so.

However, in the original filing, Windsor’s lawyers noted the importance of the Second Circuit hearing the case, as it is the only circuit in which all states allow same-sex couples to marry. The circuit consists of New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.

“Therefore, Windsor suggests it is ‘vitally important that the Second Circuit be heard on this issue and be heard as expeditiously as possible in order to ensure that legally married same-sex couples in New York, Connecticut, and Vermont are protected from the daily unconstitutional burdens and indignities imposed by DOMA’ and ‘this Court may provide important guidance to other courts throughout the country (as well as the Supreme Court) on the appropriate level of scrutiny for laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation,’” reports Prop8TrialTracker.com.

Oral arguments in Windsor’s case will be heard September 27.


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