Edith Windsor was only married for two years, but she was with her partner Thea Clara Spyer for more than 40 years. Now she is the face of the fight for marriage equality before the United States Supreme Court.
Thea and Edith married in 2007, when Thea was gravely ill and was given less than a year to live. After only 21 months of marriage, Thea died, leaving her estate to Edith. Because their marriage was not legally recognized, Edith was responsible for paying more than $300,000 in estate taxes on her inheritance – money that she never would have owed, as she said, if her spouse’s name was Theo and if it was a man she had met only the day before he died.
Edith and Thea led a full life in the 42 years they shared together. They traveled, owned a house in the Hamptons, loved dancing, and shared an apartment on Fifth Avenue in New York City. Through the years, they shared a committed relationship, but they something was missing. They found that missing element once they were married.
Even though they were married for only the final two years of their 40-year relationship, she said something intangible but unmistakable changed after they were married. “For anybody who doesn’t understand why we want it and why we need it,” she said, “it is magic.”
Anyone with a beating heart should be able to understand that.
Edith Windsor, you rock. Thank you for your courage and your brave heart. I stand with you.