145 House Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer and New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler, have filed an amicus brief against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

The brief was filed 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, which bars federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples, violates the equal protection guarantee of the U.S. Constitution.

On June 6, New York District Judge Barbara Jones ruled in favor of Windsor. Windsor has in turn asked the Supreme Court to review the case. If the high court agrees to take the case, the lawsuit would bypass consideration before an appeals court.

The lawmakers argue in their brief that Section 3 of DOMA is unconstitutional.

“Even under rational basis as applied by the Supreme Court in cases where the rights of a minority are at stake, Section 3 is unconstitutional. Section 3 does not achieve, but undermines, the actual interests served by the programs that take marital status into account, and denying recognition to couples who already are married under state law does not rationally serve any of the reasons relied upon by Congress in 1996 or created in response to this litigation,” the lawmakers wrote.

“[I]t is impossible to believe that any legitimate federal interest is rationally served by depriving a widow like Windsor of the marital deduction that allows married couples to pass property to the surviving spouse without penalty, thus maximizing the survivor's financial well-being.”

The House's Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG) at the direction of House Speaker John Boehner intervened to defend the law after President Barack Obama instructed the Department of Justice to no longer defend DOMA in court.

This is the second brief House Democrats have file against DOMA. In July, they filed a brief in support of Karen Golinski, a federal employee who has also sued to have her same-sex marriage recognized.