You’ve no doubt heard by now that Sally Ride, the first American woman to go into outer space, has died of pancreatic cancer. One interesting side story to that, now reported by the Huffington Post, is that Ride had a female partner for 27 years:
Sally Ride’s death after a seventeen-month battle with pancreatic cancer has brought to light a less-reported fact about the first American woman in space: her long-time relationship with female partner Tam O’Shaughnessy.
An official statement from Sally Ride Science named O’Shaughnessy as the 61-year-old Ride’s partner of 27 years. She is also identified in a short bio on Sally Ride Science’s official website simply as the company’s Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President for Content.
But because of the Defense of Marriage Act, their estate will now be taxed at a much higher rate than a heterosexual couple’s estate would be. And O’Shaughnessy is not eligible to receive Ride’s pension, if there is one. Indeed, the federal government, in lauding her achievements, can’t even recognize O’Shaughnessy as her spouse.