Finally, she was referred to Roberta Kaplan, a partner at the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, who later recalled: "When I heard her story, it took me about five seconds, maybe less, to agree to represent her".
Kaplan had unsuccessfully represented the plaintiffs in a 2006 case that challenged the inability of same-sex couples to marry under New York law, Hernández v. Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), filed the case in the U. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of Windsor as executor of Spyer's estate on November 9, 2010.
Windsor noted in a statement that when she and her partner met nearly 50 years earlier that they never dreamed their marriage would land before the Supreme Court "as an example of why gay married couples should be treated equally, and not like second-class citizens." Noting that her deceased wife would be proud, Windsor added, "The truth is, I never expected any less from my country." The Court held that the Constitution prevented the federal government from treating state-sanctioned heterosexual marriages differently from state-sanctioned same-sex marriages, and that such differentiation "demean[ed] the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects." The answer may be found in Windsor's brief, in which she argues that DOMA operates to say "that married gay couples aren't genuinely married at all but are instead 'similarly situated' to unmarried people. DOMA's principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal.
DOMA seeks to injure the very class New York seeks to protect. The principal purpose is to impose inequality, not for other reasons like governmental efficiency.
Under that standard, it could no longer defend the constitutionality of DOMA Section 3.
On April 18, 2011, Paul Clement, representing the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the House of Representatives (BLAG), filed a motion asking to be allowed to intervene in the suit "for the limited purpose of defending the constitutionality of Section III" of DOMA.
The DOJ replied to BLAG's motion to dismiss, asserting: (1) its standing as an "aggrieved party", because the District Court's stay prevents the DOJ from taking steps to cease enforcement of Section 3 of DOMA; and (2) that its participation ensures consideration of the constitutional issue if the Second Circuit or the Supreme Court determines that BLAG lacks standing.In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote: "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity." Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, a same-sex couple residing in New York, were lawfully married in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in 2007.Later in 2008, New York recognized their marriage following a court decision.The majority opinion stated, "It is easy to conclude that homosexuals have suffered a history of discrimination." Thus they were part of a quasi-suspect class that deserves any law restricting its rights to be subjected to intermediate scrutiny.Because DOMA could not pass that test, Judge Jacobs wrote, it is unconstitutional under the equal protection guarantees of the Fifth Amendment.By creating two contradictory marriage regimes within the same State, DOMA forces same-sex couples to live as married for the purpose of state law but unmarried for the purpose of federal law, thus diminishing the stability and predictability of basic personal relations the State has found it proper to acknowledge and protect.By this dynamic DOMA undermines both the public and private significance of state-sanctioned same-sex marriages; for it tells those couples, and all the world, that their otherwise valid marriages are unworthy of federal recognition.On December 7, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the case, now United States v. In addition to the question presented by the DOJ – "Whether Section 3 of DOMA violates the Fifth Amendment's guarantee of equal protection" for same sex partners – the court also asked the parties to brief and argue two other questions: whether the government's agreement with the Second Circuit's decision deprived the court of a "real dispute" and therefore of jurisdiction to hear the case, and whether BLAG had standing in its own right, i.e., the legal right to independently ask for the appeal to be heard in the event that the government was not a valid petitioner. The particular case at hand concerns the estate tax, but DOMA is more than a simple determination of what should or should not be allowed as an estate tax refund.Article III of the Constitution (the "Case or Controversy clause") forbids parties that do not themselves have a real and personal ("particularized") complaint from filing a case or appeal in a federal court. Among the over 1,000 statutes and numerous federal regulations that DOMA controls are laws pertaining to Social Security, housing, taxes, criminal sanctions, copyright, and veterans' benefits.Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which federally defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, is unconstitutional under the Fifth Amendment Due Process Clause's guarantee of equal protection.The federal government must recognize same-sex marriages that have been approved by the states. in which the United States Supreme Court held that restricting U. federal interpretation of "marriage" and "spouse" to apply only to opposite-sex unions, by Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), is unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment.