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A Win For Equal Marriage: New York Court Rules DOMA Unconstitutional
Another strike against DOMA.
This time in Windsor v. U.S S.D.N.Y. (Index No. 10 CV 8435) the court was bolder on the question of whether DOMA is constitutional or not. In short, the New York court ruled that section three of DOMA, which defines marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman, is a violation of the equality clause.
The ACLU reported:
Windsor, a senior computer systems programmer, and Spyer, a clinical psychologist, met in the early 1960s, and lived together for more than four decades in Greenwich Village. Despite not being able to get legally married, they were engaged to each other in 1967. Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and Windsor helped her through her long battle with the disease. They were finally legally married in May 2007.
Their marriage was recognized by their home state, New York. Spyer died in 2009, and left her estate to Windsor, as per the terms of her will.
Normally, that would mean that Windsor, like the surviving spouse in any other marriage, would not have to pay the Federal Estate Tax. However, she was forced to pay this tax, which amounted to $353,053.00.
Windsor sued on the basis that the Federal government’s failure to recognize her marriage violates the equal protection clause.
The Republican led US House of Representatives appointed an attorney to represent the government after the Obama administration refused to defend DOMA.
In its judgement, the court awarded Windsor $353,053 plus interest and costs as allowed by the law.
This would be a good time to remind John Boehner and the GOP controlled house that DOMA is costing us money. Discriminating against same sex marriage partners is a violation of the Equality clause. Get used to it.