Gay Jewish woman in historic legal victory

A lawsuit brought by a Jewish woman has led the Supreme Court in America to abolish a law which denied gay spouses equal benefits.

The justices narrowly voted 5-4 in favour of striking down section three of the Defence of Marriage Act (Doma), a move which further normalises gay marriage in America.

Edith Windsor initiated the case after she had to pay over $300,000 in federal taxes when her wife of 40 years, Thea Spyer, passed away. This was despite their Canadian marriage being recognised by the state of New York, where the couple resided.

Alan van Capelle, who heads the Jewish advocacy group Bend the Arc, spoke of his joy at the decision.

“Having faced prejudice and bigotry throughout our history, the Jewish community does not tolerate unjust discrimination against others.

“Personally, as a gay Jewish man who has long been fighting for LGBT rights, it means so much to see our highest court rule that my family has as much right to happiness and protection under the law as any other.”

In contrast, Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox organisation, released a statement claiming the “sanctity” of traditional marriage was “grievously insulted” by the ruling.

“Society’s mores may shift and crumble but eternal verities exist. One is marriage, the union of a man and a woman … that sanctity remains untouched.”

Last updated: 12:03pm, June 28 2013