42 years. that’s how long edith windsor (in the pic above) & her soulmate, thea, were together. sadly, they are separated now by death. but, edith reflects and says that it was a wonderful life together.
although they were together for so many years, they only married in 2007. same sex marriages, of course, were not so common, or even legal in most places. they were married in toronto and lived in new york, where they had been living together for years. their life was much like many. both working, both celebrating life’s joys & sorrows, sharing all the moments of life together. all the good & all the bad.
edith said that once she was married, she realized how important it was to be able to live her life “for real” with her love. it felt legitimate. however, even though they were married, in new york they were not like most couples, and to the US government, they were still not legitimate… as marriage was only recognized & legal between opposite sexes. a fact that is still true.
the reality of inequality and the fact that their marriage was unrecognized became even more real when, sadly, thea passed away. edith found herself in poor health and grieving, when she was hit with the knowledge that she had more that $300,000 to pay in taxes after thea’s death. something that would never happen after the death of a spouse in a opposite sex marriage.
but, again, their marriage was not legally recognized. they were little more than friends according to the law, though they had loved & live with each other through thick & thin for over 40 years. so, edith faced a huge bill because she did not have the same rights as her neighbors down the street. instead of having time to mourn the love of her life, edith faced the task of figuring out how she could put together this large amount of money.
so, edith went to court.
and now, after about 3 years, her case has made it all the way to the supreme court. a decision will be made on the constitutionality of the law (the Defense of Marriage Act, DOMA) that prevents edith and many others from having a chance at an equal marriage, or a marriage at all. so, yes. the highest court in the united states will consider this case & another same sex marriage case during the next year. and the outcome of their decision will be huge.
it will have an amazingly huge impact on thousands of people, including my & my wife. if DOMA is ruled unconstitutional, my marriage will be recognized. my love & i can choose to move to the states, and so many other basic rights afforded to heterosexual couples, like simple hospital visitation, will be available to all people.
this case is huge.
and across the country in the state of washington, marriage equality became a reality this past sunday. the state now allows all people to get married. yay! the people of the state voted for love over hate. for acceptance & inclusion over fear & exclusion.
below i’ve posted some photos (courtesy of the seattle times) of some of the happy couples who have waited, and now celebrated, their love by taking the plunge and getting married, sealing their commitment to each other. many of the older couples have been together for 30 years or more! how can someone be against a love like that? how is commitment & faithfulness between two people ever a threat to marriage? i’m thinking these people have a thing or two to teach all of us.
check out these amazing newlyweds in washington…
now, tell me. what is so scary about all of these people sharing life & loving each other?
what’s so scary about us? we are exactly the same as the couples above. as all couples. as you. as everyone. sharing life. dreaming, hoping, wishing, and loving each other through the good times & the bad.
yes, there are good things happening in the states right now. i only hope & pray that they continue. in the meantime, i will keep “go[ing] to the mattresses” = fight. fight. fight.
What a touching story! I cannot believe I haven’t heard of Edith and her struggle.
Marriage is recognized in New York as well, since 2011. I remember seeing the gay parade last year and that was their big topic!
unfortunately edith’s wife died in 2009 (i think), so it was before marriage was recognized in NY. 🙁 that is part of her defense… that now, her marriage would be recognized. it’s all so crazy. oooo… i’d love to be in the city for the pride parade one year! 🙂
Love is love.
I’m so glad that this issue is being heard by the Supreme Court and in my opinion this is long overdue. Taking away the rights of someone else does not make a country stronger, does not make a single marriage between one man and one woman stronger or weaker or make their marriage anything but what it is.
It seems to me it must take a very fragile sense of self and a very fragile sexual orientation for them to be threatened by the mere reality of other people existing and living their lives.
Let me paraphrase Thomas Jefferson who said, it neither affects me whether another person worships one god or a thousand.
Let me say, it neither affects/effects me whether another person marries a person of their own gender or a person of the opposite gender of themselves or divorces or re-marries or never marries. What does affect/effect me is whether another person is able to fully engage in their own life, their own privacy, to the full extent of their human rights, happiness, and potential.
I’m glad that you are able to marry to the partner of your choice. I hope that someday soon all people will be able to do so with the legal benefits, responsibilities, and blessings of all societies and cultures. Thanks for this lovely posts.
Good and healing thoughts to you and to yours.
this is beautifully written! thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. i am touched by your words. you are truly an inspiration of strength & determination, and a strong supporter of the human right to live life from one’s soul.
may you find peace & wholeness during this season of light. xo
What beautiful wishes for me. 🙂 Thank you so much. Good and healing thoughts to you and to those you love.
I hope so much that people will read this story and let their mind wander a little bit further than their garden fence. I hope that people will finally open their hearts and see that love is not a threat to anything. I do hope one day you won’t be living in Sweden because you cannot live in the states BUT because you want to be close to Ireland 🙂 Love ya buckets
hehe. that IS why we are here. but, when we move to the states one day, you will always have a home there with us, a base camp from which you can wander around the whole country. 🙂 love you!