The case Windsor v. U.S debates the tax issues involving same-sex marriage, DOMA’s definition of marriage and the equal protection principle.
This case arises from Plaintiff Edie Windsor’s constitutional challenge to section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), the operation of which required Plaintiff to pay federal estate tax on her same‑sex spouse’s estate, a tax from which similarly situated heterosexual couples are exempt. Windsor brought an action seeking a refund of the federal estate taxes, and a declaration that section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) defining “marriage” as a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife violated equal protection. After the Executive Branch decided not to enforce DOMA, a congressional group was allowed to intervene to defend the constitutionality of the statute, 797 F.Supp.2d 320. Subsequently, Windsor moved for summary judgment and the congressional group moved to dismiss. Held: (1) Windsor had the standing to bring the action, and (2) the challenged section of DOMA violated equal protection under rational basis review.
Laura Morgan is a Family Law Consultant. Laura is available for consultation, brief writing and research on family law issues throughout the country. She can be reached through her Web site.