The lawsuit successfully toppling DOMA was filed by a New York woman, Edith Windsor, now 83, who challenged the fact she had to pay more than more than $363,000 in federal estate taxes when her Canadian wife, Thea Spyer, died. Because the ruling makes her eligible for the spousal deduction, she is now expected to have that money refunded to her by the Internal Revenue Service.
In Cooperstown, gay rights advocate Katie Boardman, an elder at First Presbyterian Church, said she was delighted by the pair of rulings. SHe noted that the DOMA decision will have an immediate positive impact for same sex couples in New York, particularly as it pertains to their access to federal benefits that heterosexual couples get by virtue of being married.
“This is huge,” she said. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s very significant.”
She said the decision will also be beneficial for federal employees involved in same sex partnerships.
Otsego Town Board Member Carl Wenner, a conservative Republican opposed to gay rights, called the rulings “pathetic.”
“I’m not surprised at all that this court is bending over backwards for homosexuals,” said Wenner. “The whole idea of homosexual marriage is an oxymoron. The court is just another wing of government. It is continually getting more and more corrupt. You cannot be a seriously religious person and think that homosexuality is OK with God.”
In the DOMA decisoin, the court’s majority commented that for same sex couples who married after New York sanctioned their ability to wed, the new law “conferred upon them a dignity and a status of immense import.”
Jim Koury, the former Oneonta city clerk and the editor of Diversity Rules magazine, said the Supreme Court rulings represent “a monumental step” advancing the rights of gay Americans.
“DOMA being declared unconstitutional, brings to an end a very long fight that finally brings fairness and equity to those same sex couples legally married in that they now are accorded all the federal benefits of marriage that are available to heterosexual couples,” Koury said.