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Edith Windsor And Thea Spyer's Great American Love Story

You probably already know that Edith Windsor spent her later years fighting for marriage equality, but how much do you know about the whirlwind romance that started it all?

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After divorcing her husband, a young Edith Windsor asked her friends to, "Take me where the lesbians are."

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As she describes it, when she went to the movies, she secretly identified with movie star Dick Powell, not with his co-star Ruby Keeler. After less than a year of marriage, she asked her husband for a divorce.

The first night Windsor met Thea Spyer they "danced a hole through the bottom of one of Edie's stockings."

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They met in 1963 at Portofino, a New York restaurant where lesbians felt free to openly congregate.


A love story so cinematic, it was made into a feature length film:

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The award-winning 2009 documentary film, Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement by Susan Muska and Gréta Olafsdóttir.

Thea was diagnosed at 45 with multiple sclerosis. Windsor then took early retirement to become a full-time caregiver.

As her condition worsened Thea was restricted to crutches, and later a wheelchair. By 2002, Spyer was diagnosed with a cardiovascular condition called aortic stenosis. At that point, Spyer was quadriplegic and got around by using an adjusted mouse to maneuver her wheelchair.


When Thea's doctor told her she had under a year to live, they flew to Toronto to be legally wed.

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On May 22, 2007, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer were legally married by Canada's first out gay judge, Justice Harvey Brownstone.

Thea passed away only 21 months after the wedding.

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Not only did she have to cope with Spyer's death, she was also was forced to pay more than $350,000 in federal estate taxes because the federal government didn't recognize her marriage to Spyer.

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