• Last updated on November 11, 2022

The Supreme Court overturned a provision of the Social Security Act that awarded benefits to widows but not widowers.

In the aftermath of Reed v. Reed[case]Reed v. Reed[Reed v. Reed] (1971), in which the Supreme Court ruled that classifying by gender is an equal protection violation, the Court faced the problem that many “benign” classifications favored women over men. In Kahn v. Shevin[case]Kahn v. Shevin[Kahn v. Shevin] (1974), the Court was badly divided when it upheld a Florida law giving tax relief to widows but not to widowers. In Weinberger, however, the Court unanimously struck down a provision of the Social Security Act that awarded benefits to widows but not widowers. Justice William J. Brennan, Jr.,Brennan, William J., Jr.;Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld[Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld] wrote the opinion for the Court. Chief Justice Warren E. Burger and Justices Lewis F. Powell, Jr., and William H. Rehnquist concurred.Social Security ActDiscrimination, sex;Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld[Weinberger v. Wiesenfeld]Social Security Act

Equal protection clause

Fourteenth Amendment

Frontiero v. Richardson

Gender issues

Reed v. Reed

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