LGBT activist Edith Windsor dies at 88

13 September, 2017, 00:41 | Author: Malcolm Fuller
  • In Memoriam Influential People We've Lost This Year

Edith Windsor, the fiery LGBTQ rights icon whose legal battles for same sex marriage rights resulted in the Supreme Court's decision to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act, died on Tuesday, her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, confirmed to the New York Times.

When Spyer died in 2009, Windsor found she was on the hook for $363,000 in federal estate taxes - all because their marriage wasn't recognized as valid in the United States.

In 1977, when Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Windsor cared for her around the clock; they married in 2007 in a Toronto ceremony officiated by Canada's first openly gay judge. In 2013, she took her fight to the Supreme Court.

That federal case set precedent for the 2015 decision that established same-sex marriage as national law-a fact that brought great pride to Ms. Windsor.

Eighty-eight-year-old gay rights trailblazer Edith Windsor died on September 12, and if you don't know her name, it's time you learn.

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Roberta Kaplan, Windsor's lawyer in her landmark Supreme Court case, remembers her as a "true American hero". But it cleared the way for gay rights activists to place an even bigger target in their crosshairs, a slew of state-level bans on same-sex marriage itself. "Edith opened the door for all LGBTQ Americans to experience this magic - and we are forever indebted to her because of it". 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". Thea Spyer and Windsor became a lifelong couple and in 1967, Spyer proposed. While everyone else went out dancing, she waited up all night for Spyer to arrive-she finally showed up the next afternoon. Windsor called them and said, "I know this is presumptuous, but, please, can I come stay with you?" With Edie's passing, I lost not only a treasured client, but a member of my family.

A public memorial for Windsor will be held at Riverside Memorial Chapel this Friday at 12:30 p.m. "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".

Edie Windsor was 88 years old. In lieu of flowers, Windsor had requested, prior to her death, that any donations in her memory be made to The LGBT Center, Callen-Lorde, Hetrick-Martin Institute, and SAGE.

While Windor's case struck down the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act, it only protected marriage equality in those states that already allowed it.

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