Today, the Supreme Court justices will hear arguments on the constitutionality of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between man and woman. This definition excludes same-sex married couples from the benefits that opposite-sex married couples are entitled to.
Before the justices today is the case of the United States vs. Windsor. Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, who met in 1963, were married in 2007, after an engagement of 40 years.
In the couple’s wedding announcement, Dr. Spyer says of her spouse, “It was a feeling of complete delight in being with her. I had a real sense of ‘I’ve landed in my life.’”
Thea Spyer passed away in 2009, after a long battle with progressive multiple sclerosis, and because DOMA does not permit the Internal Revenue Service to treat Edith Windsor as a surviving spouse, she was handed a $360,000 tax bill. This is a bill that, under DOMA, Windsor would not have to pay had her spouse been a man.
Thea Spyer was not a man. And today, Edith “Edie” Windsor takes on the Defense of Marriage Act, which unconstitutionally discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation. This law treats the roughly 130,000 married same-sex couples in our country today as if they were perfect strangers, despite there being 1,000 places in the federal code where we should treat them as what they are, which is married.
As her case was set to go before the Supreme Court, Windsor told the New York Times, “I wish Thea was here to see what is going on.”
We stand with Edie today as she seeks to end explicit federal discrimination against same-sex marriages. Let’s go, Edie!