By William Engel
“To a More Perfect Union: U.S. v. Windsor” is an hour-long documentary telling the life story of Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in the Supreme Court case that ruled the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional, allowing same-sex unions to receive the same protections as heterosexual unions under federal law. The film takes us through Edith’s life story, as she moves to New York, meets her life partner, witnesses the genesis of the gay pride movement, and becomes an activist herself.
Although the film is largely about Edith’s personal history, its defining theme is the universality of the LGBT experience. We see this through her developing friendship with Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer who represented her in the Supreme Court case. She, too, had to struggle to survive the 60’s and 70’s as a lesbian, and naturally took Edith’s case without any hesitation.
Near the end of the film, actress Rosie O’Donnell tells the story of how she was moved to tears by the sight of a lesbian couple holding hands in public – something they never would have gotten away with when she was younger. Those expressions of solidarity are what make this documentary a truly memorable viewing experience.
To a More Perfect Union: U.S. v Windsor
1h 3min | Documentary
Director: Donna Zaccaro