May 6, 2011 at 2:28 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Conference set Monday for ACLU lawsuit against DOMA

Edie Windsor (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

A schedule could be established on Monday for federal litigation challenging the Defense of Marriage Act during a status conference before a New York federal district court.

The status conference concerns the case of Windsor v. United States, which was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, and will take place before Magistrate Judge James Francis at the Southern District of New York Courthouse. The lawsuit contends that DOMA is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection principles of the Fifth Amendment.

Robyn Shepard, an ACLU spokesperson, said the judge will hear proposals from the parties about the schedule for briefing and discovery for the case, and he may decide on a schedule.

Edie Windsor, the plaintiff in the lawsuit, is set to appear before the judge. Because of DOMA, Windsor had to pay $350,000 in taxes to inherit the estate of her spouse, Thea Spyer, upon her death in 2009. The two had been couple for 44 years and were legally married in Canada in 2007.

In addition to Windsor, representatives of the Justice Department and the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group of the U.S. House are also set to appear.

The Justice Department announced in February that President Obama determined the law was unconstitutional and it would no longer defend DOMA against in the court. After a party-line vote in March by the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group, U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) directed House General Counsel Kerry Kircher to defend DOMA and hired Paul Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general, to assist with defending the anti-gay law.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

  • John, the drunk, Boehner, Republican leader, is a scumbag. Does he genuinely believe this woman should pay $350,000 in taxes, that no opposite sex married couple would have to pay? These anti-gay bigots deserve a punch in the face. Anti-gay marriage bans have a real, tangible, negative impact on the private lives of the gays. The supporters of these bans are absolutely disgusting, and I would like to treat them to a similar treatment. With fellow bigot Americans like these, who needs enemies?

  • REPUBLICAN Politicians who play a game with the real lives of married citizens for their own Political Gain must be removed from their positions.

    I recall the Tea Party candidates campaigning on Fiscal Issues, leaving Social Issues alone,…But Now they have aligned themselves with Republicans to deny Constitutional Rights to Citizens.

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