The Defeat of DOMA

THU, OCT 8, 2015 (49:52)

Roberta Kaplan knew from the beginning that it was the perfect case to bring down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Edie Windsor and Thea Spyer had been together as a couple, in sickness and in health, for more than forty years—enduring society’s homophobia as well as Spyer’s near total paralysis from multiple sclerosis. Although the couple was finally able to marry, when Spyer died the federal government refused to recognize their marriage, forcing Windsor to pay a huge estate tax bill.

In this gripping, definitive account of one of our nation’s most significant civil rights victories, Kaplan describes meeting Windsor and their journey together to defeat DOMA. She shares the behind-the-scenes highs and lows, the excitement and the worries, and provides intriguing insights into her historic argument before the Supreme Court. A critical and previously untold part of the narrative is Kaplan’s own personal story, including her struggle for self-acceptance in order to create a loving family of her own.

“United States v. Windsor was a landmark ruling, and the case’s architect, Roberta Kaplan, emerged as a true American hero. Then Comes Marriage is a riveting account of a watershed moment in our history, and the strategy, ingenuity, and humanity that made it happen.” — President Bill Clinton

+ BIO: Roberta Kaplan

Roberta Kaplan is a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Since winning United States v. Windsor, she litigated the case against the gay marriage ban in Mississippi and filed “The People’s Brief” in the Supreme Court case of Obergefell v. Hodges. She lives in New York City with her wife and son.

Photo Credit: Taylor Hooper

Follow her on Twitter at @kaplanrobbie

+ BIO: Eric Lander

Lander received his PhD in mathematics from Oxford in 1981, as a Rhodes Scholar. He joined Whitehead Institute in 1986 and founded the Whitehead Institute/MIT Center for Genome Research in 1990. Lander became the founding director of the newly created Broad Institute in 2003. The Broad is a collaboration of MIT, Harvard University and affiliated hospitals, and Whitehead Institute. It is aimed at creating comprehensive tools for genomic medicine and pioneering their application to propel the understanding and treatment of disease. Eric S. Lander is one of the driving forces behind today's revolution in genomics; the study of all of the genes in an organism and how they function together in health and disease. He is also a professor of biology at MIT and a professor of systems biology at Harvard Medical School.

Lander's group recently launched a revolution in the study of human genetic variation, through its own research, and participation in larger projects devoted to the question. He has also led the efforts to develop many new analytical and laboratory techniques for studying complex genetic traits in human, animal and plant populations and for creating a molecular taxonomy of cancer. These techniques have been applied to a broad range of common diseases, including cancer, diabetes, inflammatory diseases and many other less common genetic illnesses.

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LGBTQ Series