The federal Defense of Marriage Act, like so many pieces of legislation, has a wonderful name. The case of Windsor v. United States is, in part, a study of whether it is actually a wonderful piece of legislation. The relevant part of that legislation reads
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.
For you lawyers, I’ll just briefly say that this case was about finding that gays are a quasi-suspect class and the resulting intermediate scrutiny analysis; there’s a valid question as to whether it was correct to engage in that level of scrutiny, as the dissent argues. For all of us, this case was about whether a woman would have to pay an extra $363,053 in taxes based on the federal government disregarding her New York same-sex marriage with the consequent removal of her “surviving spouse” tax status.
Today’s culture warriors tend to be in favor of laws – any laws, in any branch of government – that seem to be morally correct.