The Manhattan federal appeals court will rule months from now whether Judge Barbara Jones properly declared the 1996 law unconstitutional in June. Jones is among five federal trial judges to strike it down, along with a federal appeals court in Boston.
Jones said a Manhattan woman shouldn’t have to pay federal estate taxes after her female spouse of 44 years died in 2009.
Jones said the law’s efforts to define marriage intrude on the states’ business of regulating domestic relations. The law’s supporters say it reaffirms how marriage has always been defined in the United States. The Justice Department says the law was motivated largely by disapproval of gays and lesbians.