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March 26th, 2013
04:29 PM ET

Fighting to redefine marriage

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman. Edie Windsor is taking her fight to change that definition to the Supreme Court.

When her spouse died in 2009 she was handed an estate tax bill that a heterosexual widow would not have to pay.

[1:36] “I brought my case against the government because I couldn’t believe that our government would charge me $350,000 because I was married to a woman and not to a man.”

Here case is being heard in the Supreme Court this week as gay rights advocates push to make same sex marriage legal across the country.

CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin says the tide is changing.

[3:23] “Does the federal government have the right to put same sex couples and straight couples into separate legal categories? Is there a legal basis on which to do that and that’s becoming harder, harder to answer yes.”

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soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. Paul Tanbaunaw

    Same sex marriage is an insult to humanity itself because it is either ignorance or forgetful of the roots. No gay, lesbian or transgender comes originally from same sex parents. They all were born out of heterosexual marriages. Humanity will not survive if same sex marriages triumphant and prevalent in any particular civilization. Respect to humanity involves not only knowing its roots but also preserving and propagating. Alternative is suicidal or self destruction.

    April 4, 2013 at 11:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Robert

    The title to this article is very misleading. Edie is not attempting to "redefine marriage". Edie is ALREADY married. She is simply asking the federal government to treat her marriage the same as any other marriage. That's it. No more, no less. Equal. Is that really so terribly controversial?

    March 28, 2013 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Me

    Interests are involved here. All should face it . Marriage cannot be disengaged from religion. before now irreligious people never engaged in marriage as such. They co- habited. Then it was ok until benefits began to be attached to it. In as much as Homos have the right to their lifestyle, they should respect the sanctity of the Marriage institution. It is unnatural and even if the supreme court re- defines it for their sake , just wonder for how long it will last, and the consequences of such redefinition. On day someone will want to marry a dog, cat etc. in the name of civil rights what will we say then. Freedom for all is good but comes with consequences to a civilization. Ask Greece and Rome

    March 28, 2013 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Garland Wright

    Nuts and bolts now it takes a male and a female to make a marriage.

    March 27, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Juliet

    Anonymous, I'm not sure if you know this, but the state civil marriage has no connection with religious marriage. Case in point: states are happy to marry atheists and non-Christians everyday. The arguments for and against same-gender marriage are being presented in the form of constitutional, secular arguments without giving preferential treatment to any single person's religious beliefs about marriage.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Anonymous

    You cannot/should not allow a court to alter a religious traition dating back to prehistory. The very same religions that spawned such practices find these very concepts blasphemous. And while in this modern age, the idea of marriage is more of a tax/legal issue, the base religious/ideological root remains unchanged. Should we alter our christian identity to allow what is dually considered perversion? While Christ would certainly have no problem with same sex couples per say, I dont believe he would be pro-gay marriage.

    March 26, 2013 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • skastenbaumcnn

      @anonymous I'm not sure if you're aware but this has nothing to do with any religious definition of marriage. This pertains strictly to the civil definition of a marriage. The government can't compel any religious institution to perform a wedding ceremony that goes against its beliefs and practices. Churches, synagogues and mosques are often exempted from laws like this. However, that doesn't mean a house of worship can't officiate over a same sex wedding it's leaders want to. In fact, many reform synagogues and progressive churches were holding same sex weddings long before any state legalized civil same sex marriages. Thank you for listening to the story.

      March 26, 2013 at 8:33 pm | Report abuse |
      • Me

        I totally agree with you TPA. Interests are involved here. All should face it . Marriage cannot be disengaged from religion. before now irreligious people never engaged in marriage as such. They co- habited. Then it was ok until benefits began to be attached to it. In as much as Homos have the right to their lifestyle, they should respect the sanctity of the Marriage institution. It is unnatural and even if the supreme court re- defines it for their sake , just wonder for how long it will last, and the consequences of such redefinition. On day someone will want to marry a dog, cat etc. in the name of civil rights what will we say the. Freedom for all is good but comes with consequences to a civilization. Ask Greece and Rome.

        March 28, 2013 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim

      Hey dude, America is not a theocracy. Even if the predominant religion, that influence the founding of America, was Protestant Christianity, America is not a theocracy. You can't impose your religious moral beliefs on others. Get over it already!! Same-sex marriage is going to happen. Get on the right side of history now!!

      March 27, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fran O'Rourke

      This is not a religious issue. Nobody is telling anyone in churches, synagogues or mosques that they have to marry gay or lesbian couples. It is a civil rights issue and as it stands now DOMA is discriminatory and thus needs to be repealed, which I believe it will be.

      March 27, 2013 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
      • TPA

        This isn't a religious issue now because the the government incorporated the religious tradition into law. If there were no legal or financial benefits to being married this would never have been an issue to gay couples, unfortunately it is. Before government got involved, marriage had one and only one definition. Now the government has to redefine marriage in its law books because it decided to intervene in a previously strictly-religious tradition.

        March 27, 2013 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
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