Edith Windsor, marriage equality pioneer, dies at 88

Randolph Lopez
September 13, 2017

The death was confirmed by Windsor's wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor confirmed, The New York Times reports.

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).

Windsor's contributions to LGBTQ causes, from gay rights marches in the 1970s to working with Senator Dianne Feinstein on a Respect for Marriage Act in 2011, touched those within and beyond her community.

The 2013 Supreme Court opinion became the basis for the wave of federal court rulings that struck down state marriage bans and led to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry. Two years later, in June 2015, SCOTUS put the final nail in the coffin for marriage inequality, ruling in favor of a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Windsor spent decades working tirelessly as an LGBTQ activist in and around NY, including once going to so far to donate her Cadillac to a Village Halloween parade in Manhattan where, upon seeing her name on the car's "donated by" sign, she turned to Spyer, and said "It's a whole new world".

Roberta Kaplan, the lawyer who represented Windsor during her lawsuit challenging DOMA, called the 88-year-old former computer programmer for IBM a "true American hero".

"Don't let anything make you feel that somehow they can beat us, because they can't", she said at the time.

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"Today, we lost one of this country's great civil rights pioneers, Edie Windsor".

Windsor's advocacy impacted the lives of many, especially same-sex couples in the US who aspire to marry the one they love. And then she went to the Stonewall Inn to celebrate.

Windsor met her first wife, Thea Spyer, in the 1960s.

"One simply can not write the history of the gay rights movement without reserving enormous credit and gratitude for Edie Windsor", Romero said. 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 wanted to tell you what marriage meant to me", she told the crowd. "She touched countless lives, and we at GLAAD are deeply saddened by her passing, but her kindness, compassion, and legacy will endure".

A public memorial will be held Friday, Sept. 15 at 12:30 pm at Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York City.

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.

Other reports by GlobalViralNews

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