December 7, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether California's Proposition 8 marriage amendment is constitutional and whether the federal government can refuse to recognize gay couples' marriages for tax purposes and other reasons, the court announced Friday. The long-awaited announcement, first reported by SCOTUSblog, puts Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines "marriage" and "spouse" in all federal laws as being limited to marriages between one man and one woman, squarely before the nine justices in the case of Edith Windsor. The court also accepted the request by the supporters of California's Proposition 8 that the justices hear an appeal of that case, in which the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the law as unconstitutional. Windsor sued in 2010 after she was forced to pay more than $350,000 in estate taxes after the death of her wife, Thea Spyer. Had either Windsor or Spyer been a man, her lawyers Windsor would not have had to pay the tax on the estate.