Then Comes Marriage

Then Comes Marriage

United States V. Windsor and the Defeat of DOMA

Book - 2015
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From the beginning that it was the perfect case to bring down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer had been together as a couple, in sickness and in health, for more than forty years, enduring society's homophobia as well as Spyer's near total paralysis from multiple sclerosis. Although the couple was finally able to marry, when Spyer died the federal government refused to recognize their marriage, forcing Windsor to pay a huge estate tax bill. Kaplan shares the behind-the-scenes highs and lows, the excitement and the worries, and provides intriguing insights into her historic argument before the Supreme Court.
"Roberta Kaplan's gripping story of her defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) before the Supreme Court,"
Publisher: New York, NY : W.W. Norton & Company, [2015]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780393248678
Branch Call Number: 306.848 KAPLAN
Characteristics: 350 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 25 cm
Additional Contributors: Windsor, Edie
Dickey, Lisa - Author


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Jan 03, 2016

Before the 2015 Obergefell decision that legalized gay marriage across America, the groundwork was laid in the Windsor case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act two years earlier. This is the story of the path the case took from the perspective of Edie Windsor's legal counsel and the surprising turns the case took along the way - as well as the lawyer's previous unsuccessful attempts to legalize gay marriage in New York State. What is shocking is in, reviewing the legislative history of the law, DOMA had nothing to do with "defending marriage" as it did with trying to demean gays and lesbians, based on the on-the-record comments of the supporters of the bill. The book also deals with how, when the Obama administration decided not to defend DOMA, Congress chose a conservative lawyer who not only was swimming against the tide but was also forced to quit his law firm when it turned out it also represented Fortune 500 companies who faced boycotts as a result of his representation. As well, we read that at the Supreme Court the opponents ended up arguing the case for gay marriage quite well, and it was no surprise DOMA - which affected 1100 statutes - was struck down. In the end, the story is about one woman who was stiffed with an estate tax bill in the hundred of thousands of dollars and who just wanted her money back from the IRS. Given how much the right hates the estate tax, one would have thought this is something both sides of the divide could rally around, albeit for different reasons. (Sidebar: I checked the text of DOMA and noted it also applied to Indian tribes. I thought they were supposed to be sovereign entities.)


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