In this big victory for the taxpayer, the Court granted summary judgment against the U.S. finding that the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) had no rational basis. The taxpayer was the surviving spouse in a same sex couple. The couple had been legally married in Canada. Decedent’s entire estate passed to her spouse, but, because of DOMA, the estate was not entitled to a marital deduction and owed about $360,000.
The taxpayer argued that homosexuals should be treated as a “suspect class,” thereby subjecting DOMA to higher constitutional scrutiny. However, the Court declined to determine whether they should be a suspect class because it concluded, under summary judgment, that DOMA fails even under the lowest level of scrutiny – rational basis. Specifically, the Court found that DOMA does not promote its stated goals (such as promoting marriage, protecting family structures, etc.).