Two days after gay and lesbian couples began marrying in New York, Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman says the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is unconstitutional.

DOMA, which denies gay couples marrying in New York, five other states and the District of Columbia access to federal benefits, was approved by Congress in 1996.

Schneiderman filed a friend-of-the-court brief in support of a widow who is challenging the law.

Edith “Edie” Windsor received an estate tax bill of more than $360,000 after the death of her wife Thea Spyer. The two women shared their lives for 44 years and married in Toronto, Canada in 2007. In 2009, New York began recognizing the marriages of gay couples, although gay couples could not enter such unions in the Empire State. Spyer died in 2009.

“By discriminating among married couples based on sexual orientation and sex, DOMA deprives New York of the ability to extend true equality to all marriages valid in the state,” Schneiderman wrote in his filing.

In February, the Obama administration announced it would no longer defend DOMA in court, prompting House Republicans to pick up where the administration had left off.