United States v. Windsor concerns Edith Windsor, who was widowed when her wife Thea Spyer died in 2009. Windsor and Spyer were married in 2007 in Canada after being partners for 40 years. Windsor was forced to pay $363,053 in estate tax on Spyer’s estate, which she argues she would not have to pay if she had been Spyer’s husband. Thus, she claims, the Defense of Marriage Act, which prevents her from being considered Spyer’s spouse for the purposes of federal taxes, literally cost her $363,053….
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in June that DOMA’s definition of marriage as between a man and a woman lacked a rational basis and ordered damages of $363,053 paid to Windsor. In October, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals concurred, with a panel ruling 2-1 for Windsor. Now the case goes to the Supreme Court.”