The Little Engine Who Could: Edie Windsor

The Woman Who Sued the United States and Won! “I think I can, I think I can” must have been Windsor’s motto as she led an uphill battle that lasted five years, and culminated in a U.S. Supreme Court decision that struck down the federal law DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) that regarded marriage as a union only between a man and a woman.  But in terms of her strength,  Edie Windsor’s  impact on gay rights in the U.S. was  (like Superman) “as strong as a locomotive.” Auspicious Beginnings Edith Schlain was born eighty-four years ago in Philadelphia. … more

NY State Estate Tax Refunds Due Gay Couples

Cuomo and U.S. Supreme Court Rule So On July 23, 2013, Governor Andrew Cuomo stated that same-sex spouses who were forced to pay high New York estates when their partner died can now get refunds from the state if they filed amended estate tax returns. The refunds are possible because of the June Supreme Court ruling that struck down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Because the Court declared that section unconstitutional, it granted the same rights to gay couples as heterosexual couples in terms of assets and lower tax costs under estate tax laws.… more

Legally Married Gays Entitled to Federal Benefits

Down With Doma Yesterday, June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States (Scotus) ruled that The Defense of Marriage Act, that defines marriage as only between a man and a woman, is unconstitutional.  Justice Anthony Kennedy, considered “the swing vote,” read the majority opinion in language similar to his opinion on historic past “gay rights”  cases of Romer v. Evans in 1996 and Lawrence v. Texas in 2003. In a 5-to-4 decision, he was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan.  Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel Alito all filed dissenting opinions.… more

Crazy, Sexy Hot: LGBT-Recommended & Approved Netflix Summer Rentals

Popcorn? Milk Duds? Edamame, anyone? This summer at Netflix, it’s the Summer of LGBTQ Love. The streaming movie monolith’s original production “Orange Is The New Black” (movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/Orange_Is_the_New_Black) has tongues wagging and has acquired brand new insta-fans who are already craving the next season, even while they rave about the first one watching every single episode from back to back. Netflix is host to myriad gems, treasures and sparkly cinematic jewels that can take a bit of searching to uncover, and that represent queer culture in many iterations from the sublime to the “ridonkulous.” (Hat-tip to RuPaul for this clever turn of phrase).… more

DOMA Struck Down by Federal Appeals Court

Ruling Today is GREAT Victory for Gay-Rights Advocates The Court Case – Windsor v. United States Eighty-three Edith “Edie” Windsor, of New York City, brought the case to court. Windsor’s wife Thea Speyes, whom she had been with for over forty-four years, died in 2009. Thea left all of her property to her spouse, but because the state-recognized legal marriage wasn’t recognized by DOMA (the federal Defense of Marriage Act), Windsor was asked to pay $363,000 in federal estate taxes. Had she been married to a man, she would have been entitled to a marital deduction.… more

DOMA May Soon Be A Relic of the Past

Vermont has joined ranks with New York and Connecticut to ask the district courts to rule that the 1996 federal law that limits marriage to the union of one man and woman is unconstitutional. How DOMA is Unfair The Defense of Marriage Act deprives same-sex couples of over 1,000 federal benefits including federal income tax credits, employment and retirement benefits, health insurance coverage, Social Security payments, and unfairly discriminates against them. The Federalist challenges to DOMA are that it infringes on the 10th Amendment to the Constitution, which grants the states all the powers not specifically reserved for the federal government. … more