New York Widow Defeats Federal Law

Edith Windsor, 83, widow of Thea Spyer, this week defeated the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

When her partner of 42 years died in 2009, two years after the two had married in Canada, the federal government, citing DOMA, billed her $363,053.  New York State followed suit, requiring taxes of $200,000.  Much of the “inheritance” Ms. Windsor was paying taxes on were the house she and Thea had bought for $35,000 and the apartment they’d bought for $300,000: both had grown considerably in their worth in the decades they’d owned them.  Had she and Thea been a heterosexual married couple, she would have been allowed to take full posession of their homes without paying a dime in taxes.

This week, in one of several cases nationwide challenging the constitutionality of DOMA, Ms. Windsor won her case.  It is expected that the Supreme Court will be asked to review one or all of those lower court decisions that DOMA is unconstitutional.  To read more about Ms. Windsor, you can see a New York Times article at http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/nyregion/woman-says-same-sex-marriage-bias-cost-her-over-500000.html?_r=3&smid=fb-share

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