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For DOMA Plaintiff Edie Windsor, Path Has Been 'Accident of History'

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Edith Windsor, left, and her lawyer Roberta Kaplan, who argued her DOMA lawsuit before the Supreme Court. (Colby Hamilton/WNYC)

Edie Windsor, the 84-year-old plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that struck down the Federal Defense of Marriage Act, was asked what her immediate reaction was when she heard the news Wednesday.

“I cried,” she said.

Windsor said it was an accident of history that made her a hero in the gay rights community. Windsor married her long-time partner Thea Spyer in 2007. Spyer passed away after a long battle with multiple sclerosis in 2009 -  and Windsor was hit with $363,000 in estate tax, money she would not have had to pay if the Federal government recognized same-sex marriages.

"I felt distressed and anguished that in the eyes of my government, the woman I had loved and cared for and had shared my life with was not my spouse, but was considered a stranger with no relationship to me,” Windsor said.

Windsor credited her legal team with a “historic” win, led by her lawyer Roberta Kaplan, who Windsor said “monumentally” argued her case before the Supreme Court. Kaplan said the case never would have happened “without the tenacity” of her “five-foot tall” client.

In an interview with WNYC's Amy Eddings, Kaplan said she hoped the Court’s focus on equal rights for legally married, same-sex couples will help push states like New Jersey to move away from civil union laws.

“I think there will be great pressure on states to do that,” Kaplan said.

To hear a full interview with Windsor's lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, click audio above.

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Comments [3]

Bill from Orlando

I know so many people who did not live to see this great day. To honor those who did not live to see this day we have to embrace this change and not give up until every state recognizes gay marriage.

Jun. 27 2013 07:05 PM
Bill from Orlando

I know so many people who did not live to see this great day. To honor those who did not live to see this day we have to embrace this change and not give up until every state recognizes gay marriage.

Jun. 27 2013 07:05 PM
Sallyedelstein from NY

The Supreme Court ruling is indeed a milestone, but for some it would prove too late. Like my vivacious and gay Great Uncle Harry. A "confirmed bachelor", my Uncle Harry was, next to a waiter passing the champagne, the most sought after man at a mid-century wedding. The single gals buzzed around him like bees to honey. The thing of it was, Harry's come hither eyes weren't directed to the bevy of beauties, they were more directed at the Best Man. Friends thought him picky, an odd man out in a world geared to the married set. Harry was born too early to witness a wedding cake topped by 2 grooms or a time when his come hither eyes would be able to gaze more openly to the possibilities that were denied him. For more visit http://envisioningtheamericandream.com/2012/06/25/the-gay-bachelor-and-the-bride/

Jun. 26 2013 04:51 PM

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