NOM’s Morse: Edith Windsor Is Part Of The “Ruling Class,” Doesn’t Need Federal Marriage Benefits
July 24, 2013 4:01 pm ET by Carlos Maza
National Organization for Marriage (NOM) spokeswoman Jennifer Morse trivialized the loss of Edith Windsor’s longtime partner and wife, suggesting that the plaintiff in the case against the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) didn’t actually need the federal marriage benefits for which she was fighting.
During the July 23 edition of Lutheran Public Radio’s Issues, Etc., Morse accused Windsor of being part of the “ruling class,” mocking the size of her inheritance and referring to Windsor’s long-time partner and wife, Thea Spyer, as the widow’s “friend”:
MORSE: And one more thing, just because I’ve been telling you that this is done by the ruling class for the interest of the ruling class - let’s not forget, Edith Windsor, what was at stake, the material interest she had in this, is that she paid estate taxes on the estate that she inherited from her friend. The estate tax amounted to over $300,000. That’s the tax she paid. What she inherited was an estate of over three million dollars. So we’re not talking about chump change. We’re not talking about some poor person. All of you people in rural Iowa, or rural Illinois, or upstate New York, all you guys with small family farms and small businesses, you’re afraid you’re going to lose your business when somebody dies because of the inheritance tax? Forget about it. The government doesn’t care about you. The government cares about Edith Windsor and her friends. That’s the message that’s going down here. The left has given up even the pretense about caring about the working class. [emphasis added]
Morse has long peddled the baseless idea that the fight for marriage equality has been manufactured by rich white people from both political parties who want to undermine the natural family. (Ironically enough, she’s also accused marriage equality supporters of being Marxists and feminists fighting to destroy capitalism).
Studies have found that the repeal of DOMA will bring a variety of much-needed financial benefits to LGBT families, which actually face higher levels of poverty, homelessness, and economic insecurity than their heterosexual counterparts. According to the Huffington Post:
The Williams Institute, a same-sex advocacy think tank, found that 33 percent of lesbian couples and 20 percent of gay male couples without a high school diploma live in poverty -- figures that are higher than the 19 percent of opposite-sex married couples in the same situation. Access to their spouse's employer health benefits, Social Security benefits and rights to the Family and Medical Leave Act that entitles employees to job-protected leave to care for children, spouses, and parents will increase the odds that same-sex couples will be lifted out of poverty, Emily Martin, vice president and general counsel at the National Women's Law Center, told HuffPost.
Morse’s theory that marriage equality is a self-serving project of the “ruling class” couldn’t be more inaccurate. The fact that she had to trivialize the loss of Windsor’s wife to prove her point makes it even more disturbing.