Wife Thea Clara Spyer
Portofino, 206 Thompson St, 10012, NYC, NY, USA
Edith "Edie" Windsor (née Schlain; June 20, 1929 – September 12, 2017) was an American LGBT rights activist and a technology manager at IBM. She was the lead plaintiff in the Supreme Court of the United States case United States v. Windsor, which successfully overturned Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act and was considered a landmark legal victory for the same-sex marriage movement in the United States.
During college, she met Saul Windsor. Their relationship ended at one time during the engagement when Windsor fell in love with a female classmate. However, after Windsor decided she did not want to live life as a lesbian, they reconciled and got married after graduation. They divorced less than one year afterward, and she confided in him that she longed to be with women. Shortly after her divorce, Windsor left Philadelphia for New York City.
Windsor met Thea Spyer, an Amsterdam-born psychologist, in 1963 at Portofino, a restaurant in Greenwich Village. When they initially met, each was already in a relationship. They occasionally saw each other at events over the next two years, but it was not until a trip to the East End of Long Island in the late spring of 1965 that they began dating each other. To help keep the relationship a secret from her co-workers, Windsor invented a relationship with Spyer's fictional brother Willy — who was actually a childhood doll belonging to Windsor — to explain Spyer's phone calls to the office. In 1967, Spyer asked Windsor to marry, although it was not yet legal anywhere in the United States. Fearing that a traditional engagement ring might expose Windsor's sexual orientation to her coworkers, Spyer instead proposed with a circular diamond pin.
Six months after getting engaged, Windsor and Spyer moved into an apartment in Greenwich Village. In 1968, they purchased a small house on Long Island together, where they went on vacation for the following forty summers. The couple often took trips both in the United States and internationally. They also entertained at their home frequently, with Spyer preparing meals, including an annual Memorial Day weekend celebration of their anniversary.
In 1977, Spyer was diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis. The disease caused a gradual, but ever-increasing paralysis. Windsor used her early retirement to become a full-time caregiver for Spyer, and the couple continued to adjust their daily behavior to accommodate.
Windsor and Spyer entered a domestic partnership in New York City in 1993. Registering on the first available day, they were issued certificate number eighty.
Spyer suffered a heart attack in 2002 and was diagnosed with aortic stenosis. In 2007, her doctors told her she had less than a year to live. New York had not yet legalized same-sex marriage, so the couple opted to marry in Toronto, Canada, on May 22, 2007, with Canada's first openly gay judge, Justice Harvey Brownstone, presiding, and with the assistance of a filmmaker and same-sex marriage activist familiar with the laws in both countries. An announcement of their wedding was published in the New York Times. Spyer died from complications related to her heart condition on February 5, 2009. After Spyer's death, Windsor was hospitalized with stress cardiomyopathy.
On September 26, 2016, Windsor married Judith Kasen at New York City Hall. At the time of the wedding, Windsor was age 87 and Kasen was age 51.
Windsor was also a member of the non-denominational Congregation Beit Simchat Torah synagogue, which has been self-described as the world's largest LGBT synagogue.
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