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Fact Sheet: United States v. Windsor (2013)


On March 27, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in Windsor v. United States regarding the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) — a federal statute that defines marriage for all federal purposes as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife. Because of DOMA, Plaintiff Edie Windsor was saddled with more than $360,000 in federal estate taxes after her beloved spouse, Thea, died in 2009. The federal government would not have imposed those taxes on a married straight couple. Rather than accept this discrimination, Edie filed a lawsuit challenged DOMA’s constitutionality. In June, the Supreme Court will rule on whether DOMA violates equal protection by denying married gay couples more than 1,100 federal benefits and protections.

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