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    Internet Mourns LGBT Civil Rights and Marriage Equality Icon Edith Windsor's Passing

    Same-Sex Marriage Icon and Inspiration Whose Supreme Court Case Paved Road for Marriage Equality

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    Civil rights icon Edith ("Edie") Windsor, whose 2013 Supreme Court case struck down a major portion of the anti-gay marriage law known as DOMA, died Tuesday. She was 88. Windsor's case prohibited the U.S. government from enforcing its ban on federal recognition of same-sex marriages.

    Windsor was revered and adored throughout the civil rights and LGBT communities. Her passion, tireless advocacy, bright spirit, smile, and determination will be sorely missed. She was a hero and an inspiration to millions. 

    In 2007 Windsor married Thea Spyer in Canada, after the couple first met in 1963. 

    In 2016, seven years after Spyer's passing, Windsor married Judith Kasen, who confirmed to The New York Times Windsor's death.

    "Four decades after the Stonewall Inn uprising fueled the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in America, Ms. Windsor, the widow of a woman with whom she had lived much of her life, became the lead plaintiff in what is widely regarded as the second most important Supreme Court ruling in the national battle over same-sex marriage rights," the Times notes.

    The Windsor decision was limited to 13 states and the District of Columbia. But in 2015, the Supreme Court held that same-sex couples had a constitutional right to marry anywhere in the nation, with all the protections and privileges of heterosexual couples. Its historic significance was likened to that of Lawrence v. Texas in 2003, which decriminalized gay sex in the United States.

    Ms. Windsor had just wanted a tax refund. But for thousands struggling for gender equality, the stakes went far beyond tax advantages available to married heterosexuals, including Social Security, health care and veterans’ benefits; protection in immigration and bankruptcy cases; and keeping a home after a spouse had died, as well as food stamps, green cards and federal aid to the poor, the elderly and children.

    On Twitter, civil rights activists and many others are mourning:

    This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.

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    Image by David via Flickr and a CC license

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