Edith Windsor: How She’ll Celebrate DOMA Defeat

Edith Windsor and Roberta Kaplan

Ariel Levy/newyorker.com

updated 06/26/2013 AT 12:20 PM ET

originally published 06/26/2013 AT 2:10 PM ET

Edith Windsor has won her case – and now it’s time to party.

The woman behind the challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was declared unconstitutional Wednesday by the U.S. Supreme Court, was at the home of her attorney, Roberta Kaplan, when she heard the news.

The entire room erupted in shouts of joy and the sound of tears of happiness when the ruling came down, reports The New Yorker. But then things quieted down enough for Windsor, 83, to take a call from President Barack Obama.

“Hello, who am I talking to?” Windsor said, according to the magazine’s report. “Oh, Barack Obama? I wanted to thank you. I think your coming out for us made such a difference throughout the country.”

Obama declared his opposition to DOMA, which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton and restricted federal marriage benefits to opposite-sex couples, in 2011. That was two years after Windsor’s wife Thea Spyer died and she was ordered to pay $363,000 in estate taxes because the federal government did not recognize her marriage. (The women wed in New York in 2009 after 40 years as a couple.)

Clinton, who later changed his stance on the law, and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, also offered their congratulations to Windsor in a statement: “By overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, the Court recognized that discrimination towards any group holds us all back in our efforts to form a more perfect union,” it reads.

“We are also encouraged that marriage equality may soon return to California. We applaud the hard work of the advocates who have fought so relentlessly for this day, and congratulate Edie Windsor on her historic victory.”


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