The Obama administration is now pushing to expand gay rights. DOMA, which bars gay couples from many federal benefits, stands in the way.
The administration is expected to file several briefs in the DOMA case, which is scheduled for oral arguments in March, CNN reported. The high court is also set to review a federal court decision reversing California's ban on gay marriage.
DOMA was challenged by Edith "Edie" Windsor, who was legally married in New York to her longtime female partner. When her wife died, Windsor had to pay far higher federal estate taxes than she would have if her spouse had been a man.
"Moral opposition to homosexuality, though it may reflect deeply held personal views, is not a legitimate policy objective that can justify unequal treatment of gay and lesbian people," Solicitor General Donald Verrilli said in the government brief.