Pelosi Statement on Speaker Boehner’s Sixth Consecutive DOMA Loss in Federal Courts

Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today after the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York City ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in the case of Windsor v. U.S.  Edith “Edie” Windsor, 83, challenged DOMA in court after the federal government taxed her more than $363,000 when her spouse, Thea Spyer, passed away in 2009.  Edie and Thea first met in 1963 and married in 2007 after an engagement that lasted more than 40 years.  Yet, when Thea died, the federal government treated them as complete strangers because of DOMA, significantly reducing Edie’s inheritance by depriving her of the marital deduction that otherwise allows a married couple to pass property to the surviving spouse without tax penalty.  Today’s decision marks Speaker Boehner’s sixth consecutive loss defending DOMA in the federal courts.

“Today’s ruling is another step forward in our march toward equality for all Americans and offers a measure of justice to Ms. Windsor, who faced discrimination and inequity at the hands of our government.

“I was proud to join 144 of my Democratic colleagues in the House in filing an amicus brief in support of Ms. Windsor.  As our brief said, ‘it is impossible to believe that any legitimate federal interest is rationally served by depriving a widow like [Edie] 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.’

“Yet House Republicans remain stuck in the past, and have wasted nearly $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars on losing legal battles to protect discriminatory laws.  Rather than join Democrats to create jobs and strengthen the middle class, Republicans refuse to abandon their reprehensible fight to deny basic civil rights and justice to an entire group of their fellow Americans, while sending the bill to the American taxpayer and in this particular case, also sought to impose unjust taxes on an American family.

“As a federal appeals court again recognizes that a law denying federal benefits to same-sex married couples is unconstitutional, we move closer to the day when marriage equality is a reality for all.  We look forward to the day when DOMA is ultimately found to be unconstitutional and all of America’s families can enjoy the blessings of equal protection under the law.”