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Widow says federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriages violates equal protection rights of the US constitution
Supreme court justices will hear arguments on Wednesday over the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, a Clinton-era measure that enshrines discrimination against same-sex couples in US federal law.
A day after the court considered whether to overturn California's gay marriage ban, the justices will consider the case of Edie Windsor, who says her 2007 marriage to Thea Spyer should have offered the same federal rights and benefits as a union between a man and a woman.
Windsor and her supporters say section 3 of Doma violates the 14th amendment of the US constitution, which guarantees equal protection under the law. The Obama administration said in 2011 it considered the law unconstitutional and would no longer defend it, while former president Bill Clinton, who signed the measure into law, has said it should be overturned. Campaigners believe there is a good chance the justices will rule the provisions to be unconstitutional.
Windsor, a former IT worker, met Spyer in 1965. They became engaged in 1967 and finally married in Toronto in 2007. Spyer died in 2009 after battling multiple sclerosis for many years, but, unlike opposite-sex married couples, Windsor was not entitled to any tax relief on her inheritance. Windsor had to pay $363,000 in federal estate taxes.
Roberta Kaplan, Windsor's lawyer, will tell the supreme court on Wednesday that she is not seeking to establish a right for same-sex couples to marry but to oblige the federal government to recognise those marriages in states that permit them.
"The point with Doma [is that] it's really unfair, unconstitutional and a violation of equal protection for the federal government for the first time in our country's history to have two classes of married couples," she said ahead of the hearing.
On Tuesday, the court heard arguments on Proposition 8, the 2008 California referendum barring gay marriage in the state. Liberal justices seemed unimpressed with the argument of opponents of same sex marriage that the central purpose of marriage is procreation, arguing that many marriages cannot bear children. But the conservatives were critical of rapid change on marriage as undermining centuries of tradition.
It is possible that none of the justices will push a sweeping ruling, however. Experts speculate that the court could sidestep a decision on the legality of Proposition 8, on the basis that the plaintiffs – who support the gay marriage ban – do not have legal standing to bring the case, as the state of California declined to do so when the referendum result was overturned by a federal court.
Those hopeful of eventually attaining equal marriage rights may have more to cheer for on Wednesday, however. The Obama administration has urged the supreme court to strike down Doma, saying it violates the guarantees of equal protection under the law by denying same-sex married couples federal benefits available to married heterosexuals.
This month Bill Clinton, who signed the bill into law in 1996, said he believed the measure is unconstitutional and should be overturned.
"As the president who signed the act into law, I have come to believe that Doma is contrary to those principles and in fact, incompatible with our constitution," Clinton said.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2013
Alloka

Alloka (37)

Alloka
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This article is about the woman from the USA, who after the death of her spouse, cannot count on any tax relief on her inheritance. Only because her marriage was unusual. It was a same-sex marriage and according to the law, same-sex couples do not have equal federal rights and benefits with opposite-sex married couples. Opponents of same-sex marriage insist that the marriage is only the marriage when it can provide procreation. What about the couples who cannot bare children, argue conservatives.
In my opinion gays and lesbians have no need to be married to be happy. Their relationships are not normal, in my opinion, and children should not be brought up in such families. For what else do they need a marriage? For dividing money and property? I think, I'm too old fashioned person to make it all out.

xParzival

xParzival

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This article is about the woman from the USA, who after the death of her spouse, cannot count on any tax relief on her inheritance. Only because her marriage was unusual. It was a same-sex marriage and according to the law, same-sex couples do not have equal federal rights and benefits with opposite-sex married couples. Opponents of same-sex marriage insist that the marriage is only a valid marriage when it can provide procreation. What about the couples who cannot bear children, argue conservatives. In my opinion gays and lesbians have no need to be married to be happy. Their relationships are not normal, in my opinion, and children should not be brought up in such families. Why do they need a marriage? For dividing money and property? I think, I'm too old fashioned to understand it all.

Very good!

Alloka

Alloka (37)

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Thank you, Charlie! But it's not very good...
I've just noticed that these sentences have no sense. I should replace "opponents" and "conservatives".
Conservatives, who do not support same-sex marriage insist that the marriage is only a valid marriage when it can provide procreation. What about the couples who cannot bear children, argue their opponents.

Now it's very good.)))

Have a nice day!

xParzival

xParzival

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True. "Conservatives" is a better choice of words. =)

Peter C

Peter C (49)

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This article is about the woman from the USA, who, after the death of her spouse, cannot count on any tax relief on her inheritance only because her marriage was unusual. It was a same-sex marriage, and according to the law, same-sex couples do not have equal federal rights and benefits with equal to those of opposite-sex married couples. Opponents of same-sex marriage insist that the marriage is only the marriage when it can provide procreation. What about the couples who cannot bare bear children, argue conservatives. In my opinion gays and lesbians have no need to be married to be happy. Their relationships are not normal, in my opinion, and children should not be brought up in such families. For what else do they need a marriage? For dividing money and property? I think, I'm too old fashioned person to make it all out.

Alla, your English is so good I have to find punctuation and articles to change ))  In the places you mentioned marriage and couples, I removed the definite article because you are speaking in general about marriage and couples. I felt that the use of the was too strong. There's not too much else to correct here. Great job, as usual!

Alloka

Alloka (37)

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Thank you Peter! You are very kind.))

jonmaz

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Opponents of same-sex marriage insist that the marriage is only the marriage when it can provide procreation.

With great respect, I disagree with you.

The noun "marriage" here is singular and is countable.   Accordingly, an indirect article can be properly used.

A marriage is only a marriage when it can provide...

or

marriages are only marriages when they can provide...

 

A correction of a correction is worthwhile only when it is polite.   I hope mine has been so.

 

 

Peter C

Peter C (49)

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I understand and agree with what you are saying; "A marriage" is probably a better choice here. I guess I was thinking in terms of marriage as an abstract concept, something like "love," "hope," etc., in which case you wouldn't use an article. However, I think it reads better as you wrote it.

Yes, your correction was polite, and I appreciate the feedback ))

jonmaz

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Thank you and best wishes.

Richard-W

Richard-W (51)

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This article is about a woman from the USA, who, after the death of her spouse, can not count on any tax relief on her inheritance. Only because her marriage was unusual. It was a same-sex marriage and according to the law, same-sex couples do not have equal federal rights and benefits that opposite-sex married couples do. Opponents of same-sex marriage insist that a marriage is only a marriage when it can provide procreation. What about the couples who cannot bare children, argue conservatives. In my opinion gays and lesbians do not need to be married to be happy. Their relationships are not normal, in my opinion, and children should not be brought up in such families. For what else do they need in a marriage? For dividing money and property? I think, I'm too old fashioned person to make sense out of it all.

Alloka

Alloka (37)

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Thank you, Richard. Have a nice day!