By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com March 27 2013 12:13 PM ET
Edie Windsor got loud cheers as she exited the Supreme Court with her lawyer and offered an evaluation of how the hearing went: "I felt very respected, and I think it's gonna be good."
Her lawyer Roberta Kaplan, who is gay, told reporters she also had a sense that "it went well." But if there's any indication of how things unfolded, it might be the curious response of the Defense of Marriage Act's backers.
Paul Clement, the lawyer hired by House Republicans to defend DOMA, didn't show up to answer questions from reporters afterward. And long before anyone else got to the microphone, Rob Schenck of the Evangelical Church Alliance promised reporters that "whatever decision they make is going to invite future litigation."
They may have wanted to avoid the scene outside, where chants of "Edie! Edie!" went up, and Windsor blew kisses to supporters gathered at a nearby rally.
Kaplan praised Windsor as a hero to the LGBT rights movement. "There is no one individual who better personifies the concept of equal protection than my client Edith Windsor," she said. "Our constitution deserves Edie Windsor and Edie Windsor deserves our Constitution."
For her part, Windsor shared the love story between her and Thea Spyer, which lasted 44 years (one for each step taken down from the Supreme Court, co-counsel Pamela Karlan noted). Windsor said she was sure her late wife was there with her and would be proud.
"Somebody wrote me a large speech which I'm not going to make," Windsor began. Then marveled at how times had changed since she met Thea. "I'm an out lesbian who just sued the United state of America, which is kind of overwhelming for me." She said the moment made her feel "humble, very humble."
Windsor credited the coming-out process with changing hearts and minds.
"I think what happened is at some point somebody came out and said I'm gay, which gave a couple of more people the guts to do it," she said. "As we increasingly came out, people saw that we didn't have horns, people learned that we were their kids and their cousins and their friends."
When she finally was able to get married in her 70s, she said it was a real change. "The fact is that everybody treated it as different. It turns out marriage is different."
To those who don't understand "why we want it and why we need it," Windsor says marriage "is magic."
Watch Windsor address the press after today's hearing, and watch Windsor's legal team speak at the press conference on the next page.
Watch Windsor's Attorneys Roberta Kaplan, James Esseks, and Pamela Karlan, answer questions alongside plaintiff Edie Windsor outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.