Edith Windsor: Gay rights trailblazer dies aged 88

Jerome Frank
September 13, 2017

Windsor, who brought a Supreme Court case that struck down parts of a federal law that banned same-sex marriage, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in NY, according to her attorney.

Windsor was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 United States supreme court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, giving gay and lesbian couples access to federal benefits and laying the foundation for the landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country in 2015.

When Windsor's partner of more than 40 years, Thea Spyer, died in 2009, Windsor was her only heir (the two had been married in Canada).

In 2007, Ms. Windsor, then 77, and Ms. Spyer, then 75, were residing in Southampton when they married in Toronto, where same-sex marriage was legal.

It would be two years before, in their ruling on Obergefell v. Hodges, the Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal across the United States.

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Gay rights pioneer Edith Windsor, whose lawsuit against the federal government helped pave the way for same-sex marriage nationwide, has died at 88.

In her interview with Metro Weekly, Windsor expressed concern over the appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch, but nonetheless advised present-day activists to "hang in" and stay connected with other members of their community as they fight back against any attempts to erode or overturn policies guaranteeing LGBTQ equality.

It was during the aftermath of Spyer's death that Windsor found herself thrust in the spotlight as an LGBT activist and marriage equality hero, as Windsor found herself with an enormous estate tax bill after receiving her inheritance. The women married in Canada when they realized they might not be living when NY state legalized same-sex marriage, which it did in 2011. "It really was. Something like three weeks before Thea died she said: 'Jesus we're still in love, aren't we'". As we mourn this monumental loss, we leave you with the words of Windsor on the importance of same-sex marriage: "Married is a magic word and it is magic throughout the world".

And all of us should be saddened by Windsor's passing. The couple married in 2016. While everyone else went out dancing, she waited up all night for Spyer to arrive-she finally showed up the next afternoon. "I also know that her memory will be a blessing not only to every LGBT person on this planet, but to all who believe in the concept of b'tzelem elohim, or equal dignity for all". "I think she'd be so proud and happy and just so pleased at how far we have come". A public memorial will be held September 15, 12:30 p.m.at Riverside Memorial Chapel. A 2015 Supreme Court case struck down state laws regarding gay marriage.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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