On Friday, May 10, Long Island Gay And Lesbian Youth (LIGALY) will hold its 20th Anniversary Gala and honor Southampton resident Edie Windsor—a central figure in the fight to abolish the Defense of Marriage Act—US Congresswoman and Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, former LIGALY board president Andy Stern and Roberta Kaplan, Windsor‘s attorney in the DOMA case.
The event, which celebrates 20 years of education, advocacy and support for Long Island‘s GLBT youth, is from 6–11 p.m. at Carlyle on the Green in Bethpage State Park.
Windsor is the petitioner in the forthcoming landmark United States Supreme Court case challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, Windsor v. United States. Having prevailed at the District Court and the Second Circuit, Windsor‘s case was finally argued before the US Supreme Court on March 27, 2013.
On May 22, 2007, after more than 40 years together, Windsor and her longtime partner Thea Spyer were legally married in Toronto, Canada. They met in Greenwich Village in 1963 and had been engaged since 1967. Windsor and Spyer‘s decades-long relationship was the subject of a documentary, Edith and Thea: A Very Long Engagement, released in 2009, the same year Spyer died from Multiple Sclerosis.
Despite their marriage in Canada, Windsor, as executor of Spyer‘s estate, was forced to pay $350,000 in federal estate taxes due to DOMA, including taxes on gifts that Spyer gave Windsor over their many years together. Windsor then met attorney Roberta Kaplan, who agreed to take the case in conjunction with the American Civil Liberties Union, and the landmark court cases followed.
Windsor lives in New York City and Southampton. She and Spyer were longtime supporters of The Network’s East End Gay Organization, and Windsor hosts a fundraiser for The Network‘s work on the East End each year.
For tickets to Friday’s Anniversary Gala or to learn more about LIGALY and make a donation, visit ligaly.org.