Supreme Court Strikes Down DOMA

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Important Step Toward Equality for Tennesseans, Says ACLU-TN

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 26, 2013

CONTACT: Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN Executive Director, 615-320-7142

NASHVILLE – The Supreme Court of the United States today struck down the core of the Defense of Marriage Act in United States v. Windsor, recognizing that it is discriminatory for our federal government to treat legally married gay couples any differently from how it treats legally married heterosexual couples.

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) states that even when a lesbian or gay couple is legally married under state law, the federal government has to treat them as unmarried and cannot grant them any of the federal benefits, protections, and responsibilities of marriage.

On March 27, the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments in the Windsor case, a challenge to Section 3 of DOMA. Edie Windsor was forced to pay more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes after her spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009. Edie and Thea were together for 44 years; after a decades-long engagement, they were finally able to legally marry two years before Thea’s death. Edie would not have had to pay any estate taxes after Thea’s death if Thea had been a man.

Windsor is represented by attorneys from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; the American Civil Liberties Union; the New York Civil Liberties Union and the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

The following can be attributed to Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee:

“This is truly an historic victory for Edie Windsor and for legally-married same-sex couples throughout the country. While the Tennessee Constitution prohibits same-sex couples from marrying in this state, striking down DOMA means that for those same-sex couples who married elsewhere, the federal government should now recognize their marriage. DOMA was the last federal law on the books that mandated discrimination against LGBT people by the federal government because of sexual orientation. Today marks the beginning of the end of official discrimination against lesbians and gay men and an important step forward in achieving equality for all Tennesseans.”

2016-07-08T16:02:30-05:00 June 26th, 2013|Categories: Press Releases|