Edie Windsor (right) with her late wife, Thea Spyer
Justice Department Asks Supreme Court to Prioritize Edie Windsor Case

By Trudy Ring

Originally published on Advocate.com October 26 2012 10:06 PM ET

The Department of Justice Friday asked the Supreme Court to prioritize New York lesbian widow Edie Windsor’s case among those the court has been asked to hear challenging the Defense of Marriage Act.

Windsor is challenging DOMA, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages, because of the estate tax she was forced to pay when her wife died. If she had been married to a man, she would not have owed the tax.

U.S. solicitor general Donald Verrilli filed a brief with the court Friday, saying the Windsor case should take precedence among the DOMA cases under consideration, the Washington Blade reports. A federal appeals court recently heard Windsor’s case and found DOMA unconstitutional, and also that heightened judicial scrutiny should apply to laws that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.

“The application of heightened scrutiny is suggested in the Justice Department [brief] as the reason why the Windsor case should take precedence, although it’s not explicitly stated,” the Blade reports.

Windsor issued a statement saying she is pleased with the DOJ’s action. “It has been a long journey up to this point, and I remain hopeful that I will be alive to see the day soon when justice is done for me and for all other married gay and lesbian couples,” she said.

The court is not expected to announce which DOMA challenge it will hear until after the election.