POLITICS

Edie Windsor On Supreme Court's DOMA Ruling: 'Today, My Country Gave Dignity' To Us (VIDEO)

06/26/2013 08:09 pm ET | Updated Jun 26, 2013

Edie Windsor, plaintiff in the Supreme Court case against the federal Defense of Marriage Act, didn't try to contain her excitement and emotion Wednesday morning when news broke that the anti-gay statute had been ruled unconstitutional. After the tears were shed and the victory was celebrated, Windsor sat down with ABC News' Diane Sawyer to explain what the court's decision meant to her and gay people around the nation.

Windsor told ABC News that her first thoughts were about Thea Clara Spyer, her partner of 42 years and the woman whose death in 2009 would highlight injustices that married same-sex couples faced under DOMA. When Spyer passed away two years after their marriage -- which was officially recognized in the state of New York, where they lived -- the federal government refused to recognize their union. Because of DOMA, Windsor was subjected to hefty estate taxes that wouldn't have been levied on a heterosexual couple. Though this was the argument at the core of Wednesday's decision, Windsor told Sawyer that money was never the real issue.

“One of the things I felt did not have to do with the money but had to do with … with my country is not giving dignity to this beautiful person I lived with,” Windsor said. “And today, my country gave dignity and appreciated who she was.”

Windsor said she took a moment to share the triumph with Spyer.

“I looked at her picture and I said, ‘Honey, it’s done!’” Windsor told Sawyer. “I know what she would say, she would say, ‘You did it, honey!"

Windsor also predicted that Wednesday's ruling would mark the "beginning of the end" of institutionalized, anti-gay policies around the nation.

Click over to ABC News for more, or watch a clip of the segment above.

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