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Time Person of the Year could be DOMA slayer Edith Windsor

The wait is almost over! Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2013 will be announced Dec. 11.

UPDATE, Dec. 11, 8:30 a.m.: My prediction from last night (see end of this item) was correct. Pope Francis is Person of the Year. But I'm very glad that a tax-connected person was one of the finalists.

I generally don't pay attention to this annual event. This year is different. Taxes are involved, at least peripherally.

Edith Windsor is Time Person of the Year finalist courtesy NBC NewsOne of the five finalists, per NBC Nightly News and on whose sister network program Today the announcement will be made, is Edith Windsor.

Bringing down DOMA: Windsor is the 84-year-old widow who sued the federal government for not recognizing her marriage to another woman. The basis of her suit was unfair treatment under estate tax laws.

Because Windsor's late wife, Thea Spyer, was a woman, the Internal Revenue Service would not recognize her marriage per the provisions of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). That law defined marriage for federal purposes as between one man and one woman.

That meant Windsor was not allowed to inherit Spyer's estate tax-free, as would have been the case if Windsor had been the widow of a man.

The Supreme Court agreed that the DOMA gender restriction was unconstitutional.

Windsor subsequently was awarded not only the court victory, but a federal refund of $363,000 plus interest and another $275,000 plus interest from the New York tax department.

The Time magazine honor would be a nice way for Windsor to wrap up the year.

I don't believe, however, that Windsor and her ground breaking tax case will win.

The other four finalists are Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, National Security Agency secrets leaker Edward Snowden and Pope Francis.

The distinction goes to the person whom Time editors deem has had the most impact on events during the year for better or worse.

My tax heart is with Edie, but my head says that from the remaining contenders, the Pope gets the cover.

You also might find these marriage related posts of interest:


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