Passed in response to the possibility that the state of Hawaii might allow same-sex marriages, the act defines marriage as the union of one man and one women, for the purposes of Federal law. DOMA passed the House by a vote of 342-67, the Senate 85-14, and was signed by President Bill Clinton.
Several same-sex couples filed suit in federal court challenging the constitutional validity of Proposition 8. Judge Vaughn Walker of Northern District of California agrees, concluding that the law violates the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
Edith Windsor, widow of a same-sex spouse whose marriage was legally recognized in New York, filed a lawsuit in New York, challenging the federal government's levy of an estate tax that would not have been applied to an opposite-sex couple. Judge Barbara Jones of the Southern District of New York concludes that DOMA is unconstitutional, violating equal protection guarantees of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments.
December 2012Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, who will argue for the governmentPaul Clement, who will argue for the BLAG
U.S. Supreme Court Agrees to Hear both Cases
The Supreme Court grants review of both DOMA and Prop. 8. In addition to arguments on the merits, the Court asks the parties to argue whether the Court has jurisdiction to hear the cases. Arguments are schedule for March 2013.