JTS Signs Amicus Brief Supporting Challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA)

The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) has signed an amicus brief supporting a challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). In so doing, JTS has joined other religious organizations and leaders, members of Congress, retired military generals, children's advocacy groups, and civil rights groups, all of which, collectively, have filed more than 45 briefs in support of Edith "Edie" Windsor's challenge before the United States Supreme Court to DOMA.

"JTS, having admitted gay and lesbian students to its rabbinical program six years ago, joins other institutions and individuals in defending the right of gay and lesbian couples to marriage and the benefits that marriage confers. I am proud that our Board exercised leadership on this important issue," said JTS Chancellor Arnold M. Eisen.

After the death of her legal spouse, Thea Spyer, Windsor was forced to pay more than $360,000 in estate taxes-money she would not have had to pay had she been married to a man instead of a woman. Windsor sued the federal government for failing to recognize her marriage. She is represented by attorneys from Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; the American Civil Liberties Union; the New York Civil Liberties Union; and the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic.

In September 2012, a federal appeals court ruled in Windsor's favor that section three of DOMA unconstitutionally discriminates against married same-sex couples. In December, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Windsor's case, as well as a challenge to California's ban on marriage for same-sex couples. Arguments in Windsor's case will be heard on March 27, 2013.

In addition to JTS, other individuals and organizations filing in support of Windsor include the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, Bishops of the Episcopal Church, the Manhattan Conference of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and the American Psychological Association.

Visit JTS at www.jtsa.edu.