overview

Portofino, an Italian restaurant in the South Village that was frequented on Friday evenings by lesbians, was the meeting place in 1963 of Edith “Edie” S. Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer.

Windsor became known for challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2013.

Header Photo

Credit: Christopher D. Brazee/NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, 2016.

On the Map

 
Photo Above

Portofino restaurant ad, c. 1960s. Source unknown.

History

One former restaurant location in Greenwich Village has taken on historic significance in light of the path-breaking Supreme Court decision in “United States v. Windsor” in 2013. Portofino, which operated here from around 1959 to 1975, was an Italian restaurant in the South Village that was a discreet meeting place frequented on Friday evenings by lesbians. The case that overturned the federal Defense of Marriage Act, argued by Roberta A. Kaplan, had its roots in the meeting here in 1963 of Edith “Edie” S. Windsor and Thea Clara Spyer.

The couple eventually married in Canada in 2007 and Windsor challenged the act after receiving a large tax bill from inheriting Spyer’s estate.

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