Same-Sex Marriage Icon and Inspiration Whose Supreme Court Case Paved Road for Marriage Equality
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:
In standing up for herself, Edie also stood up for millions of Americans and their rights. May she rest in peace. https://t.co/9nNazdmnPPâ€” Bill Clinton (@BillClinton) September 12, 2017
She blazed a trail. May she rest in power. https://t.co/Cx52gaN2NYâ€” Cecile Richards (@CecileRichards) September 12, 2017
Saddened to hear of civil rights champion, Edith Windsor's passing. She is an example of the drive and potential that pushes us forward. https://t.co/ELuLXDBIauâ€” Ben Jealous (@BenJealous) September 12, 2017
We are very sad to hear about the passing of Edie Windsor. She was a true inspiration for our entire community...https://t.co/JgshXDBzAoâ€” GLAD (@GLADLaw) September 12, 2017
Remembering Edie. pic.twitter.com/pRC2E3V5iKâ€” Zack Ford (@ZackFord) September 12, 2017
What a life to have lived when your love for one person makes an entire nation more just. #EdieWindsorâ€” Anthony M. Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) September 12, 2017
I propose Edith Windsor Day, which, true her legacy, would be both a state and federal holiday.â€” Jeremy Hooper (@goodasyou) September 12, 2017
"Don't postpone joy." - Edie Windsor. A good reminder today. And every day. #EdieWindsorâ€” Chase Strangio (@chasestrangio) September 12, 2017
"The more of us there are, the more of us there are." â€”Edie Windsor.â€” Eric Schneiderman (@AGSchneiderman) September 12, 2017
Rest in power, Edie. The work goes on. https://t.co/jA6pJQjhDJ
Rest in peace, Edie Windsor. Thank you for paving the way. pic.twitter.com/KRLjCWdcqxâ€” ACLU National (@ACLU) September 12, 2017
Very sad to read of Edith Windsor's passing. Our world is better for her life. Keeping her wife Judith, all her family & friends in my heart https://t.co/K3HebHZhybâ€” Chelsea Clinton (@ChelseaClinton) September 12, 2017
Noooo :( Edith Windsor, Whose Same-Sex Marriage Fight Led to Landmark Ruling, Dies at 88 https://t.co/NRy1KgCCrUâ€” Eliel Cruz-Lopez (@elielcruz) September 12, 2017
The arc of the moral universe bends toward justice. But sometimes it needs a good kick in the ass from people like Edie Windsor.â€” Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) September 12, 2017
Down with confederate statues. Up with Edie Windsor statues. ðŸ³ï¸â€ðŸŒˆâ€” Gabe OrtÃz (@TUSK81) September 12, 2017
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