The Obama administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to review a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) originating from New York.

The case, Windsor v. United States, involves Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian widow who had to pay more than $360,000 in estate taxes after the death of her wife, Thea Spyer, because the government would not recognize their 2007 marriage. The women shared their lives together for 44 years.

The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit last week agreed with Windsor's assertion that DOMA is unconstitutional. The 2-1 ruling was also the first to apply heightened scrutiny to the unions of gay and lesbian couples.

In a supplemental brief filing, the Department of Justice (DOJ) said the case should take precedence over other pending challenges to DOMA, gay weekly The Washington Blade reported.

The DOJ had previously asked the high court to consider a case from Massachusetts. However, last week's ruling – which was handed down rather unexpectedly – has caused the agency to reconsider.

“Although Department of Health and Human Services v. Massachusetts … is also a case in which a court of appeals has rendered a decision, this case now provides the most appropriate vehicle for this Court's resolution of the constitutionality of Section 3 of DOMA,” the DOJ's brief states. “In particular, the court of appeals in Massachusetts was constrained by binding circuit precedent as to the applicable level of scrutiny … whereas the court of appeals here was not so constrained, and its analysis may be beneficial to this Court's consideration for that issue.”

It is widely anticipated that the court will announce next month whether or not it will hear a DOMA case.

(Related: Nancy Pelosi criticizes legal spending to defend gay marriage ban DOMA.)