TWO Lawsuits Filed Challenging The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

Yesterday I reported briefly that the ACLU has filed a case against DOMA today more details have emerged.:

Edith (Edie) Windsor and Thea Spyer shared their lives together as a committed couple for 44 years. They became a couple in 1965, got engaged in 1967, and married in Canada in 2007, after it became legal. When Thea died in 2009, the federal government refused to recognize their marriage and taxed Edie’s inheritance from Thea as though they were strangers. Under federal tax law, a spouse who dies can leave her assets, including the family home, to the other spouse without incurring estate taxes. Because of a law called the Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, the federal government refuses to treat married same-sex couples, like Edie and Thea, the same way as other married couples. This case points out that it is a denial of the equal protection principles of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution for the federal government to pick and choose which marriages it will recognize for federal purposes, when it otherwise leaves that question entirely up to the states

.Also today the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) has filed its second lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on behalf of five same-sex couples and a widower.

This new action specifically addresses married couples in Connecticut, Vermont, and New Hampshire, and comes on the heels of a Massachusetts Federal District Court ruling this summer finding DOMA Section 3 unconstitutional.

In Pedersen et al. v. Office of Personnel Management, GLAD represents five married same-sex couples and a widower who have all been denied federal rights and protections simply because they are married to a person of the same sex.

”Getting married was extremely meaningful to Ann and me,” said Joanne Pedersen, who, with her spouse Ann Meitzen, is a plaintiff. “We were shocked to discover that the federal government essentially looks on ours as a second-class marriage.”

Filed in Federal District Court in Connecticut, this suit addresses DOMA’s denial of marriages in connection with federal employees and retirees benefits programs, Social Security benefits, survivor benefits under federal pension laws, work leave to care for a spouse under the Family Medical Leave Act, and state retiree health insurance plans that are controlled by federal tax law. Several plaintiffs who have paid additional federal income taxes because they cannot file a joint federal tax return as a married couple will join the suit once they are officially turned down for refunds from the IRS.

This is the way to do it.  I’ve always said that.  To the courts.  NOT at the voting machines.  It’s nice to see that we are learning from our past mistakes.

Now lets pray to god that Human Rights Campaign DOES NOT get involved AT ALL and knows enough to keep its mouth shut and tries not to take credit for this like it did with the Prop 8 lawsuit it badmouthed in the beginning but embraced when it won.  (Remember that?)


Will Kohler

Will Kohler is a noted LGBT historian, journalist and owner of A longtime gay activist, Will fought on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic with ACT-UP and continues fighting today for LGBT acceptance and full equality. Will’s work has been referenced in notable media venues as MSNBC and BBC News, The Washington Post, The Daily Beast, Hollywood Reporter, and Raw Story,

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