Supreme Court to take up same-sex marriage cases
Posted 09 December 2012 - 01:55 PM
The nation's highest court decided Friday to take up a suit by 83-year-old Manhattan activist Edith Windsor to have her marriage recognized by the government as well as one challenging California "Propostion 8" ban on same-sex marriage
The future of gay marriage in this country will be decided by the campaign of one determined octogenarian New Yorker.
One of the two gay marriage cases the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up Friday was brought by 83-year-old Manhattan activist Edith Windsor who sued to have her marriage to a woman recognized by the federal government.
The highest court in the land has also agreed to hear a separate case challenging California’s “Proposition 8” ban on same-sex marriage.
The justices rulings on the cases are expected to transform gay rights in this country, possibly making same-sex couples equal to heterosexuals in the eyes of the law.
Windsor brought her suit three years ago after Thea Spyer, her partner of 46 years, passed away.
The two were legally married in Canada in 2007 and their union was legally recognized by New York State.
But when Spyer died in 2009, Windsor was hit with a $363,000 federal estate tax bill.
She would have been exempt from those taxes had she been married to a man so she sued the IRS.
A Manhattan federal judge ordered the government to repay the money. The decision was upheld on appeal in October, and now the matter is before the Supreme Court.
“When Thea and I met nearly 50 years ago, we never could have dreamed that the story of our life together would be before the Supreme Court as an example of why gay married couples should be treated equally, and not like
second-class citizens,” Windsor said Friday in a statement issued by her lawyers.
“While Thea is no longer alive, I know how proud she would have been to see this day. The truth is, I never expected any less from my country.”
The justices are likely to hear the two gay-marriage cases in March with a decision expected by late June.
Gay marriage is now legal in nine states — Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Washington — as well as the District of Columbia.
California’s Supreme Court previously passed gay marriage but it was overturned in 2008 by Proposition 8. The legality of the proposition now forms the crux of the second case the Supreme Court will hear this year.
That case could affect the 31 states, including North Carolina and Minnesota, that have amended their constitutions to ban same-sex marriage.
Statements of support quickly flooded in from the city’s elected officials.
“The rights of men and women should not be dependent upon who they love and who they chose to spend their lives with,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “The history of our country is defined by the progress we have made expanding the definition of equality to all people, of all races and both sexes.”
City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who is openly gay and recently married her longtime partner, said it was inspiring to see the national discourse on gay marriage driven forward by a determined New Yorker.
“I am inspired by Ms. Windsor’s tenacity and courage to continue this fight all the way to the Supreme Court,” Quinn said. “Until all same-sex couples have equal rights regardless of who they love, we will continue this fight.”
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Posted 11 December 2012 - 02:39 PM
Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:31 PM
Interesting how one of the cases gets there over taxes, such a powerful means of coercion.
And I think she is F'd. I think she should have the same rights, but somehow I do not see her winning.