Over last weekend, Chris Geidner of Metro Weekly did a lot of good reporting about two significant LGBT legal cases. Both show how the Obama administration, which declines to vocally support same-sex marriage, is also quietly and technocratically using the law to bolster it. We chatted on Monday with Geidner about the case of New Yorker Edith Windsor, who is suing the government over a $350,000 estate tax bill following the death of her wife, Thea Spyer. (But for the Defense of Marriage Act, or if her spouse had been a man, Windsor wouldn’t have this bill.) When the Department of Justice signaled its support for Windsor’s position last week, Geidner wrote, “This is the first time the government stated affirmatively in court that a lawsuit requiring that Section 3 of DOMA be struck down as unconstitutional should succeed.”
Ironically, as Speaker John Boehner has directed the House to take up defending DOMA now that the White House will not, this puts the Republican in the position of wanting the government to take $350K it doesn’t need to from a widow. (While usually rabidly anti-tax, the Tea Party, we can only assume, will make an exception in the case of the elderly lesbian Windsor and cut Boehner some slack.)
We also discussed the Department of Homeland Security’s recent decision to only prosecute the “highest priority” immigration cases, and the subsequent announcement of a San Francisco immigration judge’s motion to close deportation proceedings against one of the more heartbreaking same-sex couples who faced being torn apart.
Super wonky Geidner will be appearing this Saturday morning at the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, on a panel with the sexy title: “Impact of Administrative Policy Changes in LGBT Rights.”