Edith Windsor, LGBT Rights Activist and 'Engine of History,' Dies at 88

Friday, 15 Sep, 2017

Windsor died in NY.

The New York Times reported that Windsor re-married a year ago to Judith Kasen-Windsor, who is her only legal survivor.

"'United States vs. Windsor' is a tremendously important case in the American Civil Rights landscape", Suzanne Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School and former senior staff attorney at Lambda Legal, the country's first legal organization focused on achieving full equality for lesbian and gay people, told The Press in a July profile of Ms. Windsor.

Windsor sued the government after the IRS forced her to pay over $360,000 in estate taxes when her spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009.

United States v. Windsor, the civil rights case, made it to the Supreme Court in 2013, when the apex court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act - which stated the legal designation of "spouse" only applies to marriages between a woman and a man - was unconstitutional, the New York Times reported.

Mayor Bill de Blasio marked Windsor's passing with a tweet in which he said that sometimes people like her need to give the arc of the moral universe "a good kick in the ass".

Representing Edie Windsor was and will always be the greatest honor of my life.

The couple split after less than a year and Windsor moved to NY, where she worked as a computer programmer for technology giant IBM.

OUT100's Edith Windsor has passed away today at the age of 88.

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"I thought about Edie that day", Obama said of Windsor's landmark case.

"Edie wanted to make sure everyone was protected from discrimination", Kilmnick said, "but also to make sure that we keep what was won at the Supreme Court".

Windsor was born in Philadelphia in 1929. "Those same children who happen to be gay will be free to love and get married - as Thea and I did - but with the same federal benefits, protections and dignity as everyone else". NPR legal affairs correspondent Nina Totenberg looks back on Windsor's life and her legal legacy.

A year after her victory, Windsor reflected on recent progress for the LGBT community.

In 2015, the Supreme Court declared that same-sex marriage was protected by the Constitution.

They officially started dating in 1965 and in 1967, Spyer proposed to Windsor, which led to a long engagement of 40 years.

"Marriage" is a magic word", according to the New Yorker. Windsor's wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, confirmed the news. For almost half a century, the two were partners and eventually were legally married as well. In an op-ed for CNN later that year, she reflected on her decision to seek justice.

Nina notes there was nowhere for them to marry at the time; it would take decades - and one "lousy prognosis" for Spyer's multiple sclerosis - before the pair finally headed to Toronto to obtain their same-sex marriage, which was also recognized by NY.

A public memorial will be held 12:30 p.m. Friday at Riverside Memorial Chapel in Manhattan.