Obama Pays Tribute To Edith Windsor: She Spoke Up Not For Special Treatment, But For Equal Treatment

Posted tonight to President Obama’s Facebook page:

President Barack Obama meets with Edie Windsor during a drop by in the Oval Office, Feb. 12, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fueled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right. Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor – and few made as big a difference to America.

I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love. She was engaged to her partner, Thea, for forty years. After a wedding in Canada, they were married for less than two.

But federal law didn’t recognize a marriage like theirs as valid – which meant that they were denied certain federal rights and benefits that other married couples enjoyed. And when Thea passed away, Edie spoke up – not for special treatment, but for equal treatment – so that other legally married same-sex couples could enjoy the same federal rights and benefits as anyone else.

In my second inaugural address, I said that if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. And because people like Edie stood up, my administration stopped defending the so-called Defense of Marriage Act in the courts.

The day that the Supreme Court issued its 2013 ruling in United States v. Windsor was a great day for Edie, and a great day for America – a victory for human decency, equality, freedom, and justice. And I called Edie that day to congratulate her.

Two years later, to the day, we took another step forward on our journey as the Supreme Court recognized a Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality. It was a victory for families, and for the principle that all of us should be treated equally, regardless of who we are or who we love.

I thought about Edie that day. I thought about all the millions of quiet heroes across the decades whose countless small acts of courage slowly made an entire country realize that love is love – and who, in the process, made us all more free. They deserve our gratitude. And so does Edie. Michelle and I offer our condolences to her wife, Judith, and to all who loved and looked up to Edie Windsor.

  • Do Something Nice

    She helped to pave the way for all of us. DOMA was toxic and never should have been signed into law. RIP.

    • religion is insane

      Your claim is why not many LGBTs align with Clinton.

      • That_Looks_Delicious

        ???? What have you been smoking? Trump got only 14% of the LGBT vote and did significantly worse than Romney or McCain in that respect. The only demographic group that went for Clinton by a larger margin than LGBTs was African-Americans.

        http://www.newnownext.com/lgbt-vote-donald-trump/11/2016/

        • Sam_Handwich
        • Reality.Bites

          Thanks – I was about to reply to the idiot when I saw you’d done so thoroughly.

          Private profile. Big shock.

          • JerryRich

            I was so busy waiting for the first Obama bashing comment that I forgot about the old, reliable Clinton bashing.

        • Traditionally gay people (I don’t say lbgt because we don’t have numbers for bi and trans voters from past elections) have voted about 22-25% for Republicans in presidential elections. Trump got a little more than half of that. That’s a sharp drop. The idea that Trump has any lbgt appeal is based on a few useful idiots like Milo and Caitlyn and not any polling. It’s still ridiculous that he got 14% of our votes, but it’s a move in the right direction and as many of my friends have pointed out white often trumps everything else when people are in the ballot box. Now we know what percentage of gay people are racist I guess.

          • CottonBlimp

            Way more than 14% of gays are racist. That’s just the percentage of gays that are complete fucking morons.

      • Do Something Nice

        Taking one look at the alternative should have had every sane and able LGBT voting for Hillary Clinton, aligned or not.

        But yes, I hate Bill for that and a few other things he did and Hillary’s bullshit “it was the best we could do at the time” excuse.

  • Stogiebear

    THIS is a president!

    • JenniferEThompson

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    • Todd20036

      Yeah. Compare Obama to Trump claiming there are good Nazis.

      Shit.

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  • Ninja0980

    I hate term limits.
    Come back to us Obama!

  • Paula

    I am sure that Trump will add his condolences to this event. /S/S/S/S/S/S/S

    • MT YVR

      More realistically : he’ll add reasons for condolences.

      😉 Yes I saw the /s 😛

  • MikeBx2

    “I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love…”

    How wonderful.

  • bkmn

    Thoughtful and heartfelt…two things we will never say about words from Trump.

  • shellback

    It seems like years ago since we had a presidential president. Thank you, PRESIDENT Obama.

    • CharlestonDave

      It’s only been eight years.

      Er, months, 8 months.

  • AtticusP

    What a class act! I miss the Obamas so much.

    If Trump even mentions this (which I doubt), somehow he will make it all about him.

    That’s what he does.

  • Robert Flanagan

    What a REAL President is like!

  • MikeBx2
    • colo303

      He wont, I’m sure.

    • Colonel Panic.

      Trump probably thinks Edie Windsor was the queen of England.

      • ohbear1957

        “A lot of people don’t know that she was married to Ernie Kovacs.”

        • orion dumptee

          ha ha ha

      • That_Looks_Delicious

        “Didn’t she used to date Paul Simon?”

      • Kevin Perez

        That would require knowledge of the history of the Windsor name. So, no.

      • Rex

        Or a casino in Vegas.

    • Reality.Bites

      Or follow her example.

    • SFBruce

      Which is exactly what he’ll probably do. If he does mention her in a positive light, it’ll only be to somehow take credit for what she did.

  • JCF
  • Stubenville

    Mr. President, we miss you!

    https://youtu.be/jO5mZF_SbIw

  • now. let’s imagine president Putz doing this same thing. and as gracefully.

    • Robincho

      *tries*…

      *fails*

      • Thorn Spike

        Won’t even bother to try.

    • CharlestonDave

      My imagination is not that good.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Sweets, even Salvador Dali couldn’t be that surreal.

      • Phillip in L.A.

        And the man had the moustaches for it, too! 🙂

    • David Walker

      To me, it’s a given that 45 probably has no idea who this magnificent person was. However, I also think that there is no one, either an official or a hired speechwriter, who could come close to this elegance, this honesty, or this sincerity. President Obama is a man to emulate, not tear down. I wish Cult 45 could understand that. Thank you, President Obama.

      • StraightGrandmother

        The only way Trump could possibly relate to Edith Windsor is the tax angle. Trump might identify with her because her claim for Equality was based on taxes and that is all Trump cares about, the greedy pig thinks only in terms of money.

        • Ross

          That doesn’t make any sense. He was already extremely wealthy. I really don’t understand why anyone gay thinks Trump has it in for them. I don’t think he cares either way.

      • Ross

        You really didn’t know anything about this woman with the exception of this one issue. What if you found out she was a child abuser? I’m certainly not accusing her of that, im just saying it’s dangerous to judge a person solely based on their stance on one particular issue.

    • Ross

      Ed, why do you put so much credence in such nonsense? Obama has an army of PR people and speech writers to craft this public image. Trump is just a buffoon, but at least he is who he is. What if you heard a secret recording of Obama saying that he hates midgets. With a white hot passion. He wants to breed them out of existence. All of Obama’s other stances on social issues are the same, but he secretly has a hatred for all midgets. What would you think about that?

  • Adam Stevens

    I miss our President.

    • Steverino

      I miss having a president.

  • What an intelligent, beautifully phrased, literate and heart-felt statement. God, how I miss this man!

  • JWC

    Always a classy man Deep respect for President Obama and Michelle

  • Treant

    Now that’s class. Trump won’t bother to comment, or will simply mention that she was too old to grab.

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Even if he did make a positive comment, it would rightfully fall on deaf ears given his stance on LGBT issues. I think this is one time he might get something right and just not bother. Sadly, I agree that if he were to comment, it would be to backhand her and what she brought about.

  • IAMBOWLINGGREEN
    • DaddyRay

      She will certainly be in the LGBTQ history books. I was at work and when I saw this news flash on my phone I let out an audible gasp.
      Thank you Edith Windsor

      • FAEN

        When we won the DOMA case I remember hearing that roar of happiness and I just burst into tears. I wept for a good 10 minutes. It was so wonderful to see, to feel.

        • DaddyRay

          I know theses the Obergefell case ruling but this video stuck with me and as you said I burst into tears watching the roar of happiness

          https://youtu.be/z9jM1rk1N_o?t=109

          • FAEN

            Yes! I remember talking to someone about 10 years older than I am and when it happened she kept shaking her head in disbelief saying “I never thought I’d see this in my lifetime.”

          • Kruhn

            Neither did I and I’m in my 40s

          • StraightGrandmother

            Thanks DaddyRay for posting the video, tears were streaming down my face. As a country we came so far, so so far. We came closer to that perfect union.

      • Rob NYNY

        Not only that, she will be in every Constitutional law book. Quite a legacy.

      • Kruhn

        Thank you, indeed, our Moses who took us to the steps of The Promised Land.

  • Mark

    How I miss this man.

    • billbear1961

      You must be back home in New Mexico, by now, right, Mark?

      Zhera was saying you got a flight to Toronto from Guadeloupe, that the flight to JFK fell through.

      • Mark

        I am bill and thank you! It was hell trying to get back home and I’m about $2k out of pocket in doing so, but I”m home. nearly 3 days to get home. Now going in the therapy for PTSD.

        • billbear1961

          I’m glad you finally reached home, Mark!

          That was some ordeal–I won’t forget what you said about fearing, for hours, that the concrete building you sheltered in might be destroyed at any moment by the powerful winds!

          Good luck with your therapy!

          Stay away from hurricanes, Mark!!

  • Talisman

    Made it all the way through the high winds without losing internet (though, of course, without power, there’s no internet). Now there’s power with no internet. Sigh.

  • That_Looks_Delicious

    OT – Ruh roh. Somebody found Kellyanne’s meth lab.

    https://twitter.com/DavidCornDC/status/907653238513651712

    • Jean-Marc in Canada

      Thing is, in the age of Trump, it could be true.

      • bzrd

        the orange mafia printing money

    • greenmanTN

      Trump forgot to turn on the exhaust fan in the Imperial toidy again.

    • BJORN RAGNVALDR

      Just one more block, please.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      In other news, we now know what Gorka and Bannon were doing all day.

    • Kruhn

      That looks like 15th and I Street, NW.

  • MT YVR

    I adore that photo, always have. If you just look at them in general it looks like a perspective thing, but when you notice their feet are that close you realize either how tiny she was or how large he was. Or both.

    Either way there’s just a kind of casual grace in those two together that was wonderful to behold.

    • Gerald Loewen

      MT YVR: You are not alone in adoring that photo. To me, in addition to the ‘casual grace,’ it shows how President Obama is adjusting his physical position so as to be more on the same level with the other individual. There are some iconic photos of him and children that capture that same quality, which for me is replete with respect and even a kind of attitude of servant more than ruler. Utterly beautiful!

  • LesbianTippingHabits


    This is so gracious and (former) Presidential.

  • billbear1961
  • Tomcat

    It is refreshing to hear a president that can actually talk with out babbling.

  • Jay Mills

    Sad day RIP at least she won’t have to witness the coming heartbreak and horror, although I’m sure she would face it with courage and flair as she lived her life.

  • Bryan

    Her bravery in bringing her case to court is an inspiration to anyone demanding equal justice under the law.
    We’ll miss you Edith.

    • Phillip in L.A.

      Well said, Bryan!

    • Bryan

      [and man, the picture of the two of them in the Oval Office really chokes me up. what a great image!]

  • billbear1961

    Not so long ago we had a PRESIDENT.

  • JT
  • Hank

    I miss Obama…. he is a man with CLASS and Intelligence!!!

  • SoCalGal20

    Awwww I heard President Obama’s voice while reading this eloquent statement. And now…the tears again.

  • Phillip in L.A.

    “America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence and fuelled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right. [¶] Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor – and few made as big a difference to America.”

    –Barack Obama

    =========================================================

    So true, and yet so difficult for so many to understand….. Thank you, Pres Obama, for saying just the right thing at the right time in the right way.

  • Dean Chambers

    A class act describing another class act. Too bad there is none to be found these days at the White House. I regret that there was never an opportunity for me to thank her in person for what she did for all of us.

  • Tom Ato

    Oh, how could I possibly thank Edie Windsor, President Obama and Jim Obergefell…without these courageous people I don’t think I’d be married. It’s something I could not have even imagined happening until these amazing people did the right thing.

  • GanymedeRenard

    The White House feels empty these days without you and your wonderful wife, good sir. Truly.

    • JCF

      Lord, it’s far WORSE than merely “empty”!

      • GanymedeRenard

        Depleted. And dull.

    • kat

      It’s the *entire country* that feels empty without them. Would do anything to turn back the clock as if November never happened.

    • StraightGrandmother

      It doesn’t even feel like the White House anymore. All the dignity and reverence is gone from it. Like a balloon with the air sucked out. Never in my lifetime did I feel this way about the White House.

      • GanymedeRenard

        Indeed, SG. Indeed. 🙁

  • Gerry Fisher

    Silence equals death. Edie spoke up. Her voice still reverberates loud and clear, and it will for a long, long time to come.

    • Ken M

      She gave a face, and a power, to those of us in the “older gay” generation. Another one of her quiet blessings. No thank you required.

  • Ken M

    Ok…now I’m crying.

    • Gerry Fisher

      It wasn’t just me, eh?

      • Ken M

        I’m gonna get blunt for a sec….Fuck Irma, EDIE WAS A REAL HURRICANE! Let’s hope her death get’s 1/10 the media attention.

  • jimbo65

    This a moving tribute that we will never ever get from the present illegitimate POTUS. A true class act honoring one of our heroes.

  • boobert

    Don’t hold your breath for a similar statement from the orange menace.

  • coram nobis

    C’est drois que je l’aim, sans blame de loial amour.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ih-7DP2BxRY

    • Robincho

      Machaut Mon Chou…

      • coram nobis

        Guillaume de Machaut (1300-1377)

  • Grumpy Old Man
  • andrew

    How blessed we were to have had this good man at the helm for eight years. In a way though, it makes our present reality even more unbearable.

  • greenmanTN
  • I love dim sum

    Must not have had any $500K speeches to Goldman Sachs scheduled today then.

  • TheManicMechanic

    That photo demonstrates pure class and quiet dignity in the WH. Now look at the mess there. It’s more like an overused, never cleaned porta-potty by comparison.

  • Obama 2020

    • andrew

      I sure would vote for him again if that were possible, but as you probably know the 22nd Amendment prohibits any person from being elected to the office of president more than twice.

  • Rex

    Words of a real President.

  • iambu

    [Obligatory “Come back, Obama!” comment]

    Goddamnit, I miss him so much…

  • supasugacrisp

    I miss this man SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a President!!!

  • JCF

    Submitted for your consideration:

    Lea Michele as Edie (nose…and bubbly personality! and very LGBT-positive). Kristen Stewart as Thea (tall, dark and smoldering. Thea was younger than Edie, as Kristen is younger than Lea. You need some dyke energy to play Thea, IMO!)

    Hmm?