83-Year-Old Lesbian to High Court: Review DOMA

Edith Windsor was forced to pay federal estate tax when wife died

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 17, 2012 4:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – An 83-year-old lesbian from New York is hoping the Supreme Court will review her challenge to the federal ban on gay marriage while she is still alive. Edith Windsor, who suffers from a heart condition, has asked the court to hear her challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, Reuters reports. Windsor married partner Thea Spyer in Toronto in 2007 after a 40-year engagement. But when Spyer died in 2009 and left her property, Windsor was forced to pay $363,000 in federal estate taxes because their marriage was not recognized under federal law.

A federal judge in New York last month ruled in favor of Windsor, who argues that DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates against married same-sex couples. "Edie and Thea were together for more than four decades and truly lived the words 'in sickness and in health, until death do us part,'" her lawyer tells the Huffington Post. "Solely because of DOMA, Edie had to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate tax, which is one of the most significant adverse impacts of DOMA. Edie, who just turned 83, suffers from a chronic heart condition. The constitutional injury inflicted on Edie should be remedied within her lifetime."

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, left, speaks with Edith Windsor, prior to a news conference to announce the introduction of a Senate bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, left, speaks with Edith Windsor, prior to a news conference to announce the introduction of a Senate bill to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act earlier this year.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)
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