Quick Hit: The woman behind the SCOTUS DOMA case

Today The New York Times published a profile of Edith Windsor, a friendly-looking 83-year-old New Yorker in pink and pearls whose fight against the Defense of Marriage Act, which “requires the federal government to deny marital benefits to gay and lesbian couples who live in states that allow such unions,” has made it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The article covers Windsor’s 40-year relationship with her late wife Thea Spyer and touches on the tricky matter of why the couple’s lasting commitment made this the ideal case, whether we like it or not, for lawyers to win over conservative judges:

…Legal experts said that [Windsor’s] age, the length and depth of her relationship, the way it can be viewed as a case about an unfair tax level as much as a case about gay rights, make it one with mainstream appeal — including, perhaps, to the middle-aged and older justices on the court.

“When you’re dealing with a 40-year-relationship and an 83-year-old woman, whatever unfortunate stereotypes that often attend this issue are hard to apply,” said Kenji Yoshino, a law professor at New York University.

It would have been nice to see the author mention Windsor’s race and class as factors in her “mainstream appeal,” but the issue raises the unavoidable question: are we OK reinforcing ideas of who qualifies as a “good” queer in order to assure basic rights?  You can read the whole article here.

New Haven, CT

Alexandra Brodsky is a senior editor at Feministing.com and student at Yale Law School. Alexandra also serves as the Board Chair of Know Your IX, a national student-led movement to end gender violence, which she co-founded and previously co-directed. Alexandra has written for publications including the New York Times, the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Nation, and she is the co-editor of The Feminist Utopia Project: 57 Visions of a Wildly Better Future. She has spoken about violence against women and reproductive justice at campuses across the country and on MSNBC, ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, FOX, and NPR. At Yale Law, Alexandra studies antidiscrimination law and is a member of the Veterans Legal Services Clinic. After graduation, she will represent girls facing discriminatory suspensions and expulsions as a Skadden Fellow at the National Women's Law Center. Most importantly, Alexandra is the mommy to Margot, a tiny pomchi rescue from North Carolina

Alexandra Brodsky is a senior editor at Feministing.com and student at Yale Law School.

Read more about Alexandra

Join the Conversation