It's a big win for Edie Windsor who, with the help of the ACLU and the cooperating law firm of Paul, Weiss, Wharton & Garrison LLP, sued the federal government for failing to recognize her marriage to her partner Thea Spyer, after Spyer's death in 2009.
In striking down DOMA, the court held that government discrimination against lesbians and gay men is now assumed to be unconstitutional. This is a huge victory — and it would never have been possible without Edie Windsor.
Send a message of thanks to Edie Windsor for her persistence in challenging the injustice of DOMA.
Edie and Thea were a couple for 44 years, were married in Canada in 2007, and were considered married by their home state of New York.
But, when Thea left all of her property to Edie, the federal government said that Edie had to pay more than $360,000 in estate taxes. Married couples are exempt from those taxes.
But, DOMA treats couples like Edie and Thea as if they are strangers. Today, the court ruled there is no good reason for that kind of treatment. And, for the first time, a federal appeals court has applied the more exacting "heightened scrutiny" standard to judicial review of government discrimination against gay people.
Tell Edie Windsor how proud you are of the giant step towards equality that she won with today's ruling.
This isn't the end of the story. Edie Windsor has petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear her case. The court has not yet decided whether to hear her case, or any of several other challenges to DOMA.
With your support, the ACLU will keep working until we totally break the hold that DOMA has over people's lives. Thank you for standing with us as we move closer and closer to that day.
Director, ACLU LGBT Project