The Obama administration on Tuesday
asked the Supreme Court to consider two more cases challenging the
constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the 1996 law
which forbids federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages
of gay and lesbian couples.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed
two similar requests in July.
One of the cases submitted Tuesday
involves Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian 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. If the high court agrees to take
the case, the lawsuit would bypass consideration before an appeals
The second case involves six gay
married couples and one widower who allege they have been denied
federal benefits because of the law. Lead plaintiff Joanne Pedersen,
a federal retiree, was denied when she attempted to add her wife Ann
Meitzen to her health insurance.
In July, a federal judge in Connecticut
sided with plaintiffs, concluding that DOMA violates equal protection
The House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory
Group (BLAG) has intervened in at least 12 DOMA-related cases –
including Pedersen – since President Barack Obama instructed the
Department of Justice to no longer defend the law in court.