Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer’s relationship is destined to be a classic among love affairs: The two New Yorkers became a couple in 1965 and had the courage to get engaged in 1967, when marriage for same-sex couples was just a fantasy. In 1977, Thea was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis, which gradually paralyzed her and ultimately left her unable to walk. Edie and Thea dealt together with the challenges of M.S. for the next 30-plus years. The couple waited for years to be able to marry, and finally did so in 2007. In 2009, after 44 years together, Thea died.
Naturally Thea left her possessions, including the apartment they had shared for decades, to Edie. But while New York considered Edie and Thea married, DOMA required the federal government to treat them as legal strangers. So Edie was socked with a $363,000 federal estate tax bill that would have been $0 if she had been a straight widow. If you haven’t seen the video about Edie, take a look, it’s quite moving.
Heartbroken at the injustice, Edie challenged the constitutionality of DOMA. Two lower federal courts have struck down DOMA in her case, and now the Supreme Court will have the final word.
The ACLU is confident that the Supreme Court will rule in Edie's favor. The haters at NOM are confident that the Supreme Court will rule against Edie. But however the Supreme Court rules—for love and commitment and fairness and dignity or against love and commitment and fairness and dignity—Edie Windsor is a hero. She was Thea's hero first. Now she's a hero to us all.