Ms. Pedersen and Ms. Meitzen plan to file a lawsuit Tuesday against the government in an effort to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that prohibits the federal government from recognizing marriages of same-sex couples.
They are plaintiffs in one of two lawsuits being filed by the legal group Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a gay rights legal organization based in Boston, and by the American Civil Liberties Union.
A similar challenge by the gay rights legal group resulted in a ruling in July from a federal judge in Boston that the act is unconstitutional. The Obama administration is appealing that decision.
The two new lawsuits, which involve plaintiffs from New York, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, expand the attack geographically and also encompass more of the 1,138 federal laws and regulations that the Defense of Marriage Act potentially affects — including the insurance costs amounting to several hundred dollars a month in the case of Ms. Pedersen and Ms. Meitzen, and a $350,0000 estate tax payment in the A.C.L.U. case.
So many people, even those who are nominally supportive of gay rights, have yet to realize just how many ways gay couples are discriminated against under our unequal system. Kudos to GLAD and the ACLU for working tirelessly to fight for true equality.