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Friday, 19 October 2012 07:35

DOMA Defeat Is a Victory for Marriage for All

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT                                          equality1 (photo by sushiesque)

The Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was a injustice born in the Clinton triangulation days, when he was adopting some conservative positions to ensure re-election and high poll ratings.  DOMA defines marriage as existing -- as far as the federal government is concerned – only between a man and a woman.

Jonathan Copehart of the Washington Post may have been on a legal high when he wrote:

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York slammed another nail in the coffin of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act on Thursday. The noxious 1996 federal law defines marriage as being between one man and one woman, thus denying same-sex families the right to marry and the same financial and legal stability afforded straight couples who marry. It’s flat-out discrimination. And by a 2-to-1 vote, the appeals court agreed.

After all, the case will be appealed to the Supreme Court, where it is likely that DOMA will be upheld on a 5-4 vote. But Copehart is correct in detailing increased social acceptance of non-traditional "Biblical" marriage. Although the Supreme Court may still uphold DOMA, attitudinal changes in the US will eventually force its repeal.

The case at hand that compelled the temporary overturning of DOMA involved a marriage between Thea Clara Spyer and Edith Windsor.  They had been a romantic couple for 40 years when they formally married in Toronto in 2007: "We were mildly affluent and extremely happy," Windsor said Thursday. "We were like most couples."

Spyer passed away shortly after their Canadian wedlock.

Then Windsor realized how discriminatory DOMA was because it set a federal standard for marriage that did not recognize her vows with Spyer. According to CNN, "This fact hit Windsor hard in 2009, while in a hospital after suffering a heart attack a month after Spyer's death. As she recovered and mourned, Windsor realized she faced a hefty bill for inheritance taxes -- $363,053 more than was warranted, she later claimed in court -- because Spyer was, in legal terms, little more than a friend."

Now 83, Windsor has, for the moment, vindicated the rights of gays to be legally committed to each other.

It's one large step for those in love, regardless of gender.