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How Two Marriage Equality Heroes Became Like Family To Each Other

Edie Windsor and her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan, tell the story of the first time their paths crossed.

Posted on February 25, 2016, at 8:04 a.m. ET

This week on The Tell Show podcast...

Edie Windsor and her lawyer, Roberta Kaplan tell the story of the first time they crossed paths, over 20 years before the United States v. Windsor ruling that paved the way for national marriage equality.

Edie Windsor and Roberta Kaplan were the plaintiff-attorney pair in the Supreme Court case that struck down the federal ban on same-sex couple's marriages.

Andrew Burton / Getty Images

Kaplan (left) and Windsor (center) worked on the case together for over three years, and remain close friends.

In 1991, Kaplan was referred to a therapist who dealt with "gay issues," Thea Spyer.

During their sessions, Thea Spyer offered Kaplan an example of the kind of fulfilling, loving same-sex relationship she was looking for: Spyer's own decades long partnership with a brilliant mathematician named Edie Windsor.

Courtesy Edie Windsor

But Windsor and Kaplan didn't meet until 2009, when Kaplan took on the lawsuit over the estate tax Windsor owed after Spyer's death—the legal battle over the Defense of Marriage Act.

In this episode, Edie Windsor's love for Thea Spyer will make your heart feel like this...

Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images

And you'll hear about the time she tried to ride the custom-painted motorcycle she bought for Spyer...

Jewel Samad / AFP / Getty Images

It did not go well.

You'll learn that Kaplan has taken up fly fishing...

BBC / Via

How could you be stressed when you're starring in your own version of A River Runs Through It?

And you'll hear Windsor and Kaplan talk about becoming part of each others' families since the United States v. Windsor ruling.

Bryan Bedder / Getty Images


To hear the full interview, subscribe to The Tell Show on iTunes or listen here.

Jon Premosch / BuzzFeed
W. W. Norton

Roberta Kaplan's book about the case, Then Comes Marriage, is out now.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.