By Michael Adams, Executive Director of SAGE
Today, 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 Action Center.
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.