Great gay news today: The U.S. appeals court of New York struck down the contentious Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as strictly that which can take place between a man and a woman.
In a 2-to-1 decision, the panel ruled in favor of Edith Windsor, an 83-year-old lesbian who argued that the law was discriminatory. Windsor’s suit — filed by the American Civil Liberties Union — stems from her relationship with longtime partner Thea Clara Spyer. The two were engaged in 1967 and married in Canada in 2007. When Spyer died in 2009, Windsor was unable to claim her estate, because the pair’s marriage wasn’t legally recognized in the United States. Instead, Windsor was forced to pay a $363,000 estate tax — a fee she wouldn’t have had to pay if her marriage had been recognized.
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For all my issues with “House Hunters International” (namely that most of the people featured on it are entitled assholes), I am still an avid fan of the show and watch it every chance I get. The vast majority of episodes feature rich, white, heterosexual retired couples looking for a luxury condo in a beachfront gated community, but apparently this coming Monday, the House Hunters will have a much more interesting–and tragic–backstory. Keep reading »
A federal law that denies a host of benefits to gay married couples is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court ruled today. The 1st US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston said the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman, discriminates against gay couples. The court agreed with a lower court judge who ruled in 2010 that the law is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define marriage and denies married gay couples federal benefits given to heterosexual married couples, including the ability to file joint tax returns. Read more…
Imagine being married to a State Police lieutenant who is killed in the line of duty — and then you learn that even though you are the widower of a fallen state employee, you’re not eligible for federal benefits that would be available to other widows.
Such could be the case for Kathy Bush, one half of a lesbian couple in Massachusetts. Bush and her partner, Mary Ritchie, married in 2004, when same-sex marriage was legalized by the state. At last, the couple didn’t have to worry about hiring lawyers to write contracts stipulating their parental rights and health care plans (something married, straight couples never have to do). But Ritchie and Bush still weren’t in the clear. Keep reading »