Edith Windsor urges Supreme Court to overturn DOMA
February 26, 2013
Today, lawyers for Edith Windsor filed a brief to the Supreme Court urging the repeal of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal respect for legal marriages between same-sex couples. The brief is filed in Windsor's Supreme Court case, Windsor v. United States, which challenges DOMA.
"DOMA today operates not to defend marriage for straight people, but only to undermine the institution of marriage as it now exists where gay couples are allowed to marry," Windsor's lawyers write in the brief.
Windsor v. United States deals directly with DOMA's Section 3. The case dates back to November 2010, when the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit on behalf of Edie Windsor, the 83-year-old widowed lesbian from New York who sued the government for the $363,000 in estate taxes that she was forced to pay under DOMA following the death of her late partner Thea Spyer in 2010. Windsor and Spyer were together for more than 40 years and wed in Canada in 2007. Because of DOMA, their marriage was not respected by the federal government.
"Gay couples like Ms. Windsor and Dr. Spyer marry for the same reasons straight couples do - to express their love and commitment to each other," the brief continues. "What DOMA does is to impose a disuniformity between married straight couples and married gay couples, while imposing a uniformity between married gay couples and unmarried gay couples."