WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Two historic days of Supreme Court hearings for two cases involving same-sex marriage have come to an end. We won't know exactly what the Supreme Court is thinking until at least June but supporters of same-sex marriage say they're hopeful after the nation's highest court heard arguments over the federal Defense Of Marriage Act. One of those supporters says she was encouraged by what she heard: Edith Windsor, the 83 years old woman who sued the government over DOMA.
The 1996 federal law defines marriage as between one man and one woman. Therefore, legal same-sex marriages are not recognized by the federal government. Windsor married her long-time partner in Canada in 2007 and her spouse died in New York two years later. Windsor was forced to pay $360,000 in estate taxes, something she says would not have happened had she married a man.
"I would have paid no tax. I know the spirit of my late spouse.. Thea Speyer is right here watching and listening and would be very proud of where we've come to," said Windsor on Wednesday.
Same-sex supporters said they had more hope for the argument over DOMA than California's Proposition 8 because the argument over Prop. 8 on Tuesday left many justices wondering why the Supreme Court was taking up the issue in the first place. The California supreme court essentially legalized gay marriage in 2008, but six months later the voters banned same-sex unions. However, DOMA, was more clear in the case of the court.
The justices questioned whether the federal government had the moral authority to control marriages and deny legally married gay couples the 1100 federal benefits. They think this issue should go straight to the state.