WNYT.com

U.S. Supreme Court takes on issue of same-sex marriage

Posted at: 03/26/2013 5:52 PM
Updated at: 03/27/2013 8:49 AM
By: Kumi Tucker

ALBANY - Libby Post married her partner in October, but she says her family is not getting equal treatment under the Defense of Marriage Act.

"When we go to file our tax returns, we have to do a joint federal return because that's what our joint state returns are based on, but then we have to file separately on the federal level because our relationships aren't deemed valid," said Post, a lesbian and gay activist.

The U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments on Proposition 8, California's ban on same-sex marriage that was ruled unconstitutional.

Wednesday the court will consider the federal law that prevents legally-married same-sex couples like Libby Post from getting the same benefits as straight, married Americans.

Opponents of same-sex marriage say the Supreme Court should carefully consider the implications.

"From our supporters, they're certainly watching this case," said the Rev. Jason McGuire, President of New Yorker's Family Research Foundation. "They are concerned about future generations of Americans. and I think this is something we shouldn't trifle with lightly, the fact that children need a mom and a dad. And so we have to be focused on that."

Washington, D.C. and nine states, including Massachusetts, Vermont and New York, allow same-sex marriage.

Wednesday's case involved DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. A New York woman named Edith Windsor is at the center of the case.

"They got married, and when her partner died, she had to pay $363,000 in inheritance taxes," said Post. "If they were a straight couple, there would have been zero inheritance tax. And that's just patently unfair. And that's the basic discriminatory nature of the laws regulating lesbian and gay couples."

"Many people consider the Windsor case to be one of the most significant civil rights cases in decades," said Albany attorney Terry Kindlon.

Kindlon fought for same-sex marriage in the New York Court of Appeals in 2006 alongside New York attorney Roberta Kaplan. She will now be arguing the DOMA case in the U.S. Supreme Court.

"Here we are, only six years later and she's about to advance the same argument in our country's highest court. And it looks as if she's going to win," said Kindlon.

The Supreme Court Justices are expected to issue their rulings in June.