Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer shared their lives together as a couple in New York City for 44 years. After a 40 year engagement they were finally married in Canada in May 2007. Two years later, Thea passed away, after living for decades with multiple sclerosis, which led to progressive paralysis.One brave challenge at a time, equality is coming. For Edie and Thea. For the 40,000 children in California who live with gay parents. For all of us.
When Thea died, the federal government refused to recognize their marriage and taxed Edie's inheritance from Thea as though they were strangers. Under federal tax law, a spouse who dies can leave her assets, including the family home, to the other spouse without incurring estate taxes.
Ordinarily, whether a couple is married for federal purposes depends on whether they are considered married in their state. New York recognized Edie and Thea's marriage, but because of a federal law called the "Defense of Marriage Act," or DOMA, the federal government refuses to treat married same-sex couples, like Edie and Thea, the same way as other married couples.
Today, the United States Supreme Court will be hearing the second case for marriage equality this week. This time, it's a Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) challenge from Edith "Edie" Windsor and the American Civil Liberties Union. Here's Edie talking about the couple's nearly 50-year relationship and her case before the Supreme Court: The ACLU, which is partnering with Edie to overturn DOMA, has more on their story: