September 27, 2012

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unfairly forced Edith “Edie” Windsor to more than $360,000 in federal estate tax after the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer, that she would not have had to pay had she been married to a man, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit was told today.

In June, a federal judge ruled for Windsor that section three of DOMA, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman, does “not pass constitutional muster.” The House of Representatives’ Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), which had r intervened to defend the constitutionality of DOMA, appealed that decision. Windsor’s attorneys have also asked the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case.

Windsor, 83, is represented by Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; the American Civil Liberties Union; and the New York Civil Liberties Union.

“New York is the largest state to give lesbian and gay couples the freedom to marry,” said Mariko Hirose, staff attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union. “It is also where Edie and Thea made their home for more than 40 years. The federal government must stop treating these committed couples as second-class citizens.”

More information about this case can be found at: