By Michael Adams, Executive Director of
Me and Edie Windsor at New York City's 2012 Pride Parade.
we move one step closer to what is sure to be a momentous event in American
history: on March 27, the Supreme Court will hear the case of United States v. Windsor, a powerful
legal challenge to the notorious Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). More
specifically, the Windsor lawsuit
challenges Section 3 of DOMA, which prohibits the federal government from
recognizing the marriages of same-sex couples even though they are already legally married under state law.
SAGE is among more than 40 groups that today filed a friend-of-the-court brief
in support of Edie Windsor’s case; we’re joined in our brief by the American
Society on Aging,
National Hispanic Council on Aging, National
Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives, National
Senior Citizens Law Center, and Southeast Asia Resource
SAGE has been proud to
support Edie during every step of her challenge to DOMA. Some background: Edie and
her spouse Thea Spyer were a committed couple who got engaged in 1967 and were
finally able to legally marry 40 years later. (If you’re a Netflix member, you
can watch a
very moving documentary about their life together.) When Thea
passed away after a long battle with multiple sclerosis, Edie was forced to pay
a large estate tax that she would not have had to pay had she been married to a
man. Not willing to remain silent about this gross injustice, Edie sued the
federal government for failing to recognize her marriage. On October 18, 2012,
the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan sided with Edie, ruling
that DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates against married same-sex couples.
Shortly thereafter, on December 7, the Supreme Court announced that it would
take and decide Edie’s case.