Today same sex couples are not recognized as having the same legal rights as heterosexual couples. On Thursday, in Windsor v. United States,Â New Yorkâ€™s Appellate Court ruled that DOMA is unconstitutional because it does not award same sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples, as reported by the New York Law Journal in an October 19th, 2012 news article.
Windsor who is the spouse of the late Thea Spyer brought the case to court. The couple was married about five years ago in Canada and New York recognized their marriage. However when Spyer died a few years after, all her property went to Windsor who had to pay over three hundred thousand dollars in property taxes because Windsor did not qualify for the marital exemption of property taxes. Thus a lawsuit was filed where Windsor claimed that she was denied her marital rights under DOMA.
The lower court held that the law was unconstitutional because it did not award the same rights to everyone. The decision was appealed by the government. After the lawsuit was filed President Obama announced that the government no longer upheld DOMA because it was unconstitutional. The Appellate Court in deciding how to review DOMA applied the standard of intermediate scrutiny where it must be proven that DOMA in question is substantially related to the furthering of the governmental purpose. Under this test, DOMA failed. Thus the court held that DOMA Â was unconstitutional. The ruling was once again appealed and now the Supreme Court has to decide whether it will review this case or not.