Floridians in same-sex marriages and elsewhere hope to be indebted to Edith Windsor. She is the 84-year-old widow whose U.S. Supreme Court victory garnered equal federal rights for gay marriages this week.
Windsor nursed her ailing wife, Thea Spyer, until Spyer died of multiple sclerosis. Until recently gays and lesbians Florida often have not had the opportunity to provide loved ones that kind of care if family or hospital staff objected.
The dual victories the Supreme Court handed to gay-marriage supporters Wednesday seemed to temporarily shift the focus of the fight from Washington to the states.
For instance, one of the more notable reactions to the Supreme Court decisions overturning the Defense of Marriage Act and upholding a lower court ruling that blocked California's Proposition 8 from taking effect came from the American Civil Liberties Union.
The benefits will be substantial for those who get them, but the beneficiaries of the U. S. Supreme Court's decision to strike down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act are just a small subset of Florida's LGBT population.
They are the couples with marriage licenses from states where same-sex marriage is legal. Until now, DOMA prevented them from receiving tax breaks, Social Security, pension considerations and myriad other benefits that the federal government extends to married couples.
The U.S. Supreme Court is finishing its year with rulings on three major cases: affirmative action in college admissions, the pre-clearance requirements of the 1965 Voting Rights Act and the status of gay marriage (Prop 8 and DOMA.)
Join host Linda Wertheimer tonight with guests Ron Elving, Senior Washington Editor; Nina Totenberg, Legal Affairs Correspondent; Tom Goldstein, publisher of SCOTUSblog and Michael Fauntroy, Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University for an hour-long special that will look at these rulings and reflect on the past year.
Update, June 26:This post was originally published back in April of this year but we decided to rerun it in light of today's decision by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Last summer, my father-in-law entered the hospital in Germany. My wife, Lu Mueller-Kaul, desperately wanted to be with him. But she was in this country on a complicated visa that forbids her from returning if she leaves. She stayed as her father suffered, cursing the unfair system.