In a case similar to the one won by Edith Windsor, yesterday the state of Pennsylvania asked a county judge to dismiss an inheritance tax lawsuit brought by a lesbian widow.
Barbara Baus last October sued the commonwealth, its Department of Revenue and Secretary of Revenue Daniel Meuser. She wed her longtime partner, Catherine Burgi-Rios, in 2011 in Connecticut, but Burgi-Rios died of leukemia in September 2012. In Pennsylvania, spouses face no inheritance tax, but the state instead charged Baus approximately $11,000 as part of a 15 percent inheritance tax. Baus argues the state is violating the U.S. Constitution by recognizing some marriages and not others. During oral arguments today, attorney Thomas Gohsler, representing Pennsylvania, asked Dally to dismiss the case. At its core, he said, the case is not about constitutional rights or gay marriage and thus belongs before a review board, not a judge.
The judge indicated that he might not rule until he sees how Pennsylvania’s pending marriage equality suits are resolved.