Today, the United States Supreme Court is set to hear the second case on the topic of same sex marriage presented this week. The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which states the federal government will only recognize marriage as between one man and one woman, is being argued today.
The current Obama administration has stated that it will not defend the law, though it will continue the law’s enforcement. The lawsuit against DOMA was filed by plaintiff Edith Windsor of New York, married in Canada to her late partner, Thea Spyer. When Spyer died in 2009, she left her estate to her spouse. However, because the marriage was not recognized by the federal government, Windsor was forced to pay over $360,000 in federal estate taxes that she would not have owed had their marriage been federally recognized.
DOMA was first signed by former President Bill Clinton in 1996, before same sex marriage was legal in any state. Since that time, however, beginning with Massachusetts in 2003, nine states and the District of Columbia allow same sex marriages. Clinton recently came out in opposition of DOMA, encouraging the Supreme Court to overturn it.