The plaintiff in the Supreme Court Case that brought down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) returns to her alma mater to receive alumni fellowship, a city proclamation and host a documentary screening and question-and-answer session.
PHILADELPHIA (March 12, 2014) – Fêted internationally and honored throughout her adopted hometown of New York, Edie Windsor is coming back to Philadelphia for a historic celebration. She will be receiving an alumni fellowship award from her alma mater, Temple University, before a screening of Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement and a Q-and-A hosted by noted Philadelphia activist Angela Giampolo. Mayor Michael Nutter will also be on hand to recognize Windsor for her contributions to LGBTQ causes including marriage equality.
“I am thrilled to be coming home,” Windsor said. “It’s an honor to return to Temple for this award and I am looking forward to being back on campus.”
The event, which is being held on April 26 as part of Temple’s annual Alumni Weekend, will celebrate Windsor’s lifetime of civil rights advocacy, her loving relationship with her spouse and her role in bringing down DOMA. It is being hosted by the College of Liberal Arts and the Leonard Mellman Visiting Scholars Program, and is sponsored by alumni and student groups throughout the university. During the program, the Temple University Alumni Association will formally name Windsor an Alumni Fellow.
“Receiving this award from my alma mater in my home town means quite a lot to me,” Windsor said.
Her 30 years working as a leader in the LGBT community has already netted Windsor more accolades than she can count, including the ACLU’s Roger N. Baldwin Medal of Liberty; the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy Award for Keeping Faith and the New York University President’s Medal. This May she will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Johns Hopkins.
Windsor and Dr. Thea Spyer were engaged for 42 years before marrying in Toronto in 2007. Their romance is chronicled in the documentary, Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagment. After Spyer’s death in 2009, the estate tax – which would not have been imposed, had Thea been a man – cost Windsor more than $600,000. She filed a federal suit in New York asserting that DOMA treated her marriage unequally compared with heterosexual marriages. The case took her all the way to the Supreme Court, which declared DOMA unconstitutional under the Due Process Clause.
In addition to the alumni fellowship and afternoon celebration, Temple’s College of Liberal Arts has established an award fund in Windsor’s honor. The Edith Windsor Fund will support LGBT studies within in the college’s Women’s Studies Program.
“We are delighted to be able to honor Edie this way,” said College of Liberal Arts Dean Teresa Soufas. “Her fight has helped to change our world. We are very proud to call Edie our alumna.”