Vermont Latest State To Challenge DOMA In Edie Windsor Lawsuit

Vermont joined New York and Connecticut —  states where gay marriage is legal — in filing a brief on Friday asking the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals to rule the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional in the case of Windsor v. United States.

The states are among a number of organizations and entities expected to file a brief, including 145 House Democrats, supporting Edie Windsor’s lawsuit. Windsor was forced to pay $363,000 in estate taxes after the passing of her partner of 46 years, Thea Spyer, in 2009 due to DOMA prohibiting the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages.

According to the Washington Blade, the brief by the House Democrats argues that “Congress passed DOMA in 1996 out of animus toward gay people”:

Additionally, the brief says DOMA unfairly imposes estate taxes upon married same-sex couples, saying ”it is impossible to believe that any legitimate federal interest is rationally served by depriving a widow like [Edie] Windsor of the marital deduction that allows married couples to pass property to the surviving spouse without penalty, thus maximizing the survivor’s financial well-being.”

Several federal judges have ruled DOMA unconstitutional and Windsor’s is one of several marriage equality cases under consideration by the Supreme Court, including Prop 8.

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One Comment

  • gaym50ish

    I assume there is much more in that brief, because estate taxes represent only one of HUNDREDS of ways that federal laws exclude gay married couples. They discriminate in Social Security survivors benefits, immigration law, tax law, military spousal benefits, veterans benefits, and on and on.

    These are real pocketbook issues, not just silly semantic arguments over words such as “marriage,” “civil union,” “civil partnership,” etc. Without marriage, you can’t even get the family membership at the gym or avoid the second-driver charge on your rental car. In other words, it costs more to be a gay couple than to be a married straight couple, and surely the court will find that to be discriminatory.

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