This morning, in a 5-4 ruling in United States vs. Windsor, the court struck down a provision of the 17 year-old Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denies federal benefits–like Social Security benefits or the ability to file joint tax returns to same-sex couples legally married.
CBS news reports,
“The impact of the DOMA case, by contrast, is clear. DOMA impacts around 1,100 federal laws, including veterans’ benefits, family medical leave and tax laws.
There are about 130,000 married same-sex couples in the United States today who up to this point were treated as unmarried as it pertained to those federal laws.
We are happy Prop. 8 remains the law of California,” Austin Nimocks, senior counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, said outside of the court.”
According to Edie Windsor,
“The 83-year-old lesbian who sued the United States government for discriminatory treatment under the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), said she felt “honored, humbled and overjoyed” after Wednesday’s ruling came down.
Windsor sued the government because under DOMA, it did not recognize her marriage to her late partner, Thea Spyer. After living together in New York for more than four decades, Windsor and Spyer finally married in 2007, when Spyer became seriously ill. When Spyer died in 2009, she left Windsor her estate. Because DOMA didn’t recognize their marriage — even though the state of New York did — the IRS hit Windsor with $363,053 in estate taxes.
Windsor’s attorney Roberta Kaplan said that Windsor will get every cent of her money back — with interest.
So the question is, is America finally moving forward?…