The morning after Sam proposed to me last August during a trip to Cannon Beach, Oregon, we sat at breakfast and I stared at the sparkling diamond on my left hand. I sipped my coffee and occasionally shifted my gaze away from my ring, squealing to Sam as I looked around the restaurant at Read More
DOMA IN A COMA
When I was in fifth grade, I read an article in YM magazine about gay girls and became overwhelmingly concerned I might be afflicted. The knowledge I had on the subject was limited to the notion that a gay person had to wear a single earring in her right ear and the idea that being gay just generally Read More
DOMA IN A COMA
While the Supreme Court decision went Edie Windsor’s way Wednesday, there are still a few lingering questions.
Can Ms. Windsor get the $363,053 she paid for her widow’s estate back?
The IRS isn’t saying. But according to her attorney’s law firm, the answer is yes.
“Every penny,” Roberta Kaplan, who has represented Read More
DOMA IN A COMA
When the New York State Senate voted to legalize same-sex marriage on June 24, 2011, I was sitting on the couch with my then-boyfriend, Erik, watching the proceedings on television. We kissed, and then we walked down to Christopher Street, where the happy, sweaty, remarkably family-friendly celebrations were in full swing.
We wandered past some bars, we ran into some friends, and eventually we came back to my apartment, at which point—this is to the best of my recollection, with the caveat that my recollection may not be entirely accurate—we had a screaming fight. (I’d wanted to stay out and see more friends; he’d wanted to go home and be together. Extrovert, meet introvert.)
Before that night, we’d talked about marriage here and there, not so much in the context of “the state should validate our relationship” or even “does this make sense for the two of us?” but rather, homosexually, in terms of “this hotel would be so cute” and “matching ties or coordinated?” Now, for the first time, as New Yorkers, a wedding was a real, legal possibility. By the next spring, and the next nuptial season, we’d split.
On Wednesday morning, Sean Brooks and his husband and partner of nearly ten years, Steven Infante, were gathered in an office with their attorneys, family members and a sheaf of legal documents. It would be the second time that the couple appeared before a judge to petition for a green card for Mr. Infante. Otherwise, Read More
In a city where many residents’ wealth is wrapped up in their real estate, the ability to pass on a co-op, condo or townhouse to a surviving spouse without paying taxes is a significant benefit. But until this morning, even in New York—one of the handful of states in the country where same-sex marriage is legal—same-sex spouses were not exempted from federal inheritance taxes. Taxes that, when applied to a couple’s lifetime savings and particularly their home, could significantly reduce the value of an estate for the surviving spouse.
Now, in the wake of the Supreme Court decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act, surviving same-sex spouses will be able to inherit real estate and other property tax-free—one of the federal benefits that have long been extended to other married couples.
The rainbow flags, T-shirts and pins that have traditionally decorated the Stonewall Inn took on new significance today with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, conferring federal benefits that were previously reserved for opposite-sex marriages on married same-sex couples.
Patrons filtered into the historic bar, the site of the 1969 Read More
Today the United States Supreme Court issued a monumental pair of rulings to expand gay rights, deeming section three of the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law denying federal benefits to legally married same-sex couples, unconstitutional.
The justices found in favor of Edie Windsor, who sued the federal government for failing Read More
The Supreme Court issued a landmark ruling today, rendering the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Per the Court’s decision, existing gay marriages will now be legally recognized by the federal government, granting same-sex couples the legal benefits guaranteed in marriage for the first time. Here, we’ve rounded up the most heartfelt responses from the Twitter-verse Read More
Edie Windsor is used to waiting. Ms. Windsor was engaged for 40 years before her 2007 Canadian wedding to Thea Spyer. The pair waited 30 years to apply to be domestic partners, under a New York City law introduced in the 1990s. Now Ms. Windsor, 83, is waiting for the Supreme Court to decide whether to hear her challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act, with a decision expected Monday morning.
Ms. Windsor is requesting a refund of the $363,053 in estate taxes that she paid to the IRS after being left all of Ms. Spyer’s property when she died in 2009. Had the pair been classified as married, Ms. Windsor would have been able to inherit the property shielded from taxes. Instead she was classified as if they had no relation to each other.
Ms. Windsor’s case has the potential to help strike down the definition of marriage in the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, where it is defined as between a man and a woman. If she wins, the federal government will recognize the marriages of same sex couples in states where gay marriage is already legal, resolving a currently conflicting definition between the federal and state governments. The district court decision in Hollingsworth v. Perry, the case challenging California’s Proposition 8 that prohibited gay marriage, declared a broader right to gay marriage, but SCOTUS is viewed as more likely to take Windsor.
“I’ve been asked, how would I feel if we win?” said Windsor. “What would that mean? It would mean everything. The beginning of the end of the stigma.”