Vermont on Friday joined New York and
Connecticut in opposing the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996
law which prohibits federal agencies from recognizing the legal
marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
Vermont Attorney General William
Sorrell on Friday said DOMA unfairly discriminates against gay
“These married couples – our
friends and neighbors in Vermont – have every right to fair and
equal treatment by the federal government,” Sorrell said in a
statement. “Instead, they are denied Social Security benefits, tax
exemptions, and health and retirement benefits.”
The three states jointly filed a brief
in support of Edith Windsor, the 83-year-old lesbian plaintiff who
received an estate bill of more than $360,000 after the death of her
wife Thea Spyer. Windsor sued, arguing that DOMA violates the equal
protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution. The women were
married in Canada before New York legalized such unions. New York
joined the case last year.
Windsor has asked the Supreme Court to
review her case.
Also on Friday, 145 House Democrats,
including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny
Hoyer and New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, filed
a brief in support of Windsor.