Edie Windsor dies at 88Around the Nation, Breaking News, Top Highlights Tuesday, September 12th, 2017
NEW YORK, N.Y. — Edie Windsor, whose Supreme Court victory in 2013 forced the federal government to recognize same-sex marriage and led to its legalization two years later, died Tuesday. She was 88.
Windsor came to national prominence after she sued the federal government for not recognizing her marriage to her late first wife, the Huffington Post reported. Her case, United States v. Windsor, ultimately made it to the Supreme Court in 2013. In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which said the legal designation of “spouse” applied only to marriages between a woman and a man, was unconstitutional. The ruling was a major victory for LGBTQ rights and helped pave the way for a later Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.
Glennda Testone, executive director of the New York LGBT Center, where Windsor volunteered over a span of more than 30 years, wrote,
“With Edie’s passing, she leaves behind a legacy that will long-serve to inspire and empower us to demand equality. But perhaps most poignant is the legacy Edie leaves of love and dignity, demonstrated by Edie and Thea’s 42 year engagement. Thea famously proposed to Edie in 1967 with a circular diamond brooch, rather than a ring, to avoid questions at Edie’s work about the engagement, particularly assumptions about the intended husband. Edie and Thea were finally married in Toronto, Canada on May 22, 2007. When Thea passed away in 2009, Edie held her memorial at The Center. The room was filled to the gills as they celebrated Thea’s life, culminating with the Big Apple Marching Band’s performance of “When the Saints Go Marching In.
“It was the government’s refusal to recognize their marriage after Thea’s death that led to Edie’s lawsuit and eventual victory in United States v. Windsor on June 26, 2013. In true Edie fashion, she held her victory press conference in The Center’s lobby…and then headed directly to the third floor to celebrate this unforgettable moment with our community: the hundreds of supporters and well-wishers who had gathered to hear the announcement. Her historic victory forever changed lives for same-sex couples in the United States and emboldened us to believe that we can, and will, win the fight for true equality for all in the LGBTQ community.”
On hearing the news, San Diego City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez told LGBT Weekly, “We have lost a fearless champion and tireless advocate. I had the honor of being Washington, D.C. Pride. co-grand marshal with her this past June. A true role model for all LGBTQ activists. God bless her.”
Remembering Windsor, HRC President Chad Griffin said, “Edie Windsor is a hero and civil rights icon who pushed our country closer to the promise of a more perfect union. Future generations will learn how she faced down discrimination with courage and defiance, and boldly challenged the United States government to treat her marriage to Thea Spyer equally under the law — as our Constitution guarantees. After Edie Windsor succeeded in defeating the Defense of Marriage Act, she continued to push forward, galvanizing the support of hundreds of thousands of Americans in support of the Obergefell case before the United States Supreme Court in 2015. We join millions across the nation in mourning the loss of Edie Windsor, and share our deepest condolences with her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor.”
Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD said, “Edie Windsor is a legend who changed the course of history for the better. She touched countless lives, and we at GLAAD are deeply saddened by her passing, but her kindness, compassion, and legacy will endure.”
LGBTQ advocates and organizations are planning a vigil for Edie outside of the Stonewall Inn in New York City tonight.
Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, issued the following statement: “Today, we lost one of this country’s great civil rights pioneers, Edie Windsor. The wheels of progress turn forward because of people like Edie who are willing to stand up in the face of injustice.
“One simply cannot write the history of the gay rights movement without reserving immense credit and gratitude for Edie Windsor. We were proud to stand with Edie when she took her fight on behalf of same-sex couples everywhere to the Supreme Court.
“We mourn her today, as do all whom she touched in her incredible life. Edie always urged others not to ‘postpone joy.’ So even as we mourn this terrible loss, we also celebrate Edie, who set an example for all of us to follow.”
In a statement, Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said, “Edie Windsor was unafraid to stand up when she knew she was being discriminated against, and ultimately, the Supreme Court agreed. Because of her bravery, the nation saw a significant leap forward for LGBTQ equality. While much work remains, the actions of courageous individuals like Edie have helped move us forward as we work towards a more perfect union. We extend our sympathies to her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, and all those who were touched by this amazing woman.”
Windsor is survived by her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, whom she married in October 2016.
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