One World Film Festival: 'Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement' is timely love story

Couple's long relationship set stage for challenging anti-gay federal law

February 28, 2013 

Edith Windsor, left, and Thea Spyer were engaged for 40 years before they were able to marry in 2007. Spyer died two years later.

COURTESY OF BLESS BLESS PRODUCTIONS

  • IF YOU GO

    One World Film Festival: 'Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement'

    No MPAA rating. Bless Bless Productions. 1:01.

    When: 2 and 4:30 p.m. March 3

    Where: Central Library Farish Theater, 140 E. Main St.

    Admission: Free

    Learn more: (859) 266-6073, Oneworldfilmfestival.org

The One World Film Festival's next entry proves to be very timely. Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement follows the couple at the center of a legal case about same-sex marriage that the U.S. Supreme Court will hear in late March.

In fact, just last week, the Obama administration called for the high court to declare unconstitutional the issue at the center of the case, the federal government's 1996 ban on same-sex marriage benefits, saying that "gay and lesbian people have been subject to a significant history of discrimination in this country."

The legal brief marked the first time a president has endorsed same-sex marriage rights in the Supreme Court. Administration lawyers expressed particular concern about federal law denying equal benefits to couples legally married in states that permit same-sex nuptials, including New York, where the case surrounding the documentary's subjects, Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer, has unfolded.

The justices will hear the case March 27.

Windsor, now 83, who married Spyer in Canada in 2007, challenged the federal law after Spyer, her spouse and partner of four decades, died in 2009 at age 77. She was required to pay more than $360,000 in federal estate taxes because she was not deemed married under the federal Defense of Marriage act. New York, Windsor's home, has since become one of nine states that have legalized gay marriage.

Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir's film was released in 2009, the year Spyer died. It tells the story of Windsor, a programming wiz at IBM, and Spyer, a psychotherapist, who met in 1965 and were engaged in 1967. It wasn't until 40 years later that they were able to legally wed.


IF YOU GO

One World Film Festival: 'Edie & Thea: A Very Long Engagement'

No MPAA rating. Bless Bless Productions. 1:01.

When: 2 and 4:30 p.m. March 3

Where: Central Library Farish Theater, 140 E. Main St.

Admission: Free

Learn more: (859) 266-6073, Oneworldfilmfestival.org

The San Jose Mercury News contributed to this report.

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