On March 27, 2013, outside the Supreme Court where oral arguments for marriage equality had just begun, Edie Windsor was present and accounted for, as she had been for many years. She was determined to fight for the right to the estate of her wife Thea, who had passed away years before.
But Edie wasn’t fighting for just her rights. She was an activist born and bred, and she sought justice for all of us in the name of love. That day in 2013 was a shining example.
I was there hosting marriage equality solidarity events with another Rockwood alum, Ellen Buchman from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. I will never forget that glorious moment when Edie exited the courtroom, dramatically descending the staircase, and heading directly for the crowd of people waiting with bated breath.
She was glowing as she walked down those stairs, as only a star could. She looked beautiful with her long scarf bellowing in the wind, and the diamond circle pin — the symbol of her 40-year marriage to Thea — gleaming on her lapel. I was on the platform just below as she made her statement:
Many people asked me, “Why get married?” I was 77, Thea was 75 [,] but the fact is, everybody treated us different. Fact is, marriage is different. When our marriage appeared in the New York Times, we heard from literally hundreds of people: playmates, and schoolmates, and friends, and relatives, sending us love and congratulations […] It’s a magic word, for anyone who doesn’t understand why we want it, why we need it. It is magic.
I will never forget that moment, and I will never forget you, Edie. Thank you! Your steadfast, unwavering belief in the power of love will be our guide. You graced us with your heart, your activism, your example of love in action. Thank you for your model, thank you for your inspiration. In your honor, we shall continue to love our way to liberation, just as you did, my friend.
May you rest with the knowledge that your work is done here, and that we will carry it forward.
In memory of you, Edie Windsor, our sacred love warrior!