Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Speaker of the City Council Christine Quinn will be filing a brief in support of an 83-year old woman’s lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act they announced Thursday.
The brief will argue that the federal government’s law is unconstitutional because it denies benefits to partners of same-sex marriages.
Edith Windsor, 83, sued the government after her spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. The two legally wed in Canada, but the federal government does not recognize their same-sex union.
Spyer's death left Windsor with a tax bill that was $360,000 higher than it would have been if the government recognized their same-sex marriage, according to The New York Times.
Manhattan federal court judge Barbara Jones ruled in Windsor’s favor two weeks ago but a group in the House of Representatives is appealing the decision.
“Sometimes it takes elected officials longer to get there than the American public,” Quinn told The New York Times. Quinn is a lesbian who married her partner last month. “But I really believe the American public wants Edith to be treated the way that any widow would be treated.”