During Logo TV’s inaugural “Trailblazers” special Thursday night, a woman named Edie Windsor was honored by former President Clinton for — at her very core — being madly, deeply, head-over-heels in love.
Windsor is the spirited and often droll woman behind the defeat of the Defense of Marriage Act one year ago — an overruling that has opened the doors for same-sex couples across the country. In Edie vs. Windsor, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that limiting the definition of “marriage” to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional. Since then, nearly half of the states have passed laws legalizing some form of same-sex marriage and for the first time ever support same-sex marriage.
And it all started when Edie met Thea Spyer. It’s the classic tale of magnetic, life-changing love at first sight — only this time, it was between two lesbians in the 1960s, before the Stonewall Riots. They were engaged in 1967 and were together for 40 years — in what Windsor calls “a love affair that just kept on and on and on” — before they married in Toronto, Ontario in 2007. Spyer died two years later, and because the United States didn’t recognize their relationship as marriage, she faced more than $300,000 in federal estate taxes.
That’s when she found attorney Roberta Kaplan, who fought with her to bring down the Defense of Marriage Act.
Both Windsor and Kaplan were honored as Trailblazers during Thursday night’s special, and during her speech — between making loving jokes about the “mainstream gays” in the room — reminded the LGBT community that “there is a ton left to do.”
“I think of the people in this room as sort of the mainstream gays now, but there are tons of gays who are hidden still … and we have to be responsible for them and we have to help make everything possible for them” she said, adding that transsexuals are among the groups that are only just starting to make progress. “I thank you all for this great world I live in.”