"The world lost a tiny but tough-as-nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality", Judith Kasen-Windsor was quoted as saying.
Edith Windsor's 2013 Supreme Court case led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in the US two years later. Windsor and her first spouse, Thea Spyer, married legally in Canada in 2007, having been together for over 40 years. The law known as DOMA, passed in 1996, barred her from receiving the federal tax benefits of marriage, no matter what NY said. Though Windsor and Spyer were married, and Windsor was the executor of Spyer's estate, the federal government imposed a $363,000 estate tax.
The couple split after less than a year and Windsor moved to NY, where she worked as a computer programmer for technology giant IBM. I know that Edie's memory will always be a blessing to [my wife] Rachel, myself, and [our son] Jacob. Windsor, an enthusiastic supporter of Clinton in her bid for the White House, said she was "so honored" the candidate chose her as a role model. In the 1950s, at a time being gay was harshly stigmatized, she married a man and changed her last name to his, Windsor.
And all of us should be saddened by Windsor's passing.
Edith Windsor was born in 1929, shortly before her parents lost their home and business in the Depression. We were driving out to the Hamptons, and she started talking to me about, "Well what would you do if we'd become engaged?" and I said, "I couldn't, because I'd have to wear a ring, and [other people] would need to know, well, who is he, and when can we meet him?"
Windsor's death left a wake of former presidents, politicians and activists reflecting on her activism that began in earnest at 81. When the Court allowed marriage equality in 2015, Windsor was finally able to exhale, knowing that what she had begun in a NY legal street fight was now protected in MS and Alabama.
A Very Long Engagement is now streaming for free on Here TV.
Former US president Barack Obama was among her admirers, and spoke with Windsor a few days ago, shortly before her death, "to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love".
Windsor was 81 when she brought a lawsuit that proved to be a turning point for gay rights.
But the couple could not marry in NY during Spyer's lifetime. She endorsed Christine Quinn in her bid to become the first lesbian mayor of the nation's largest city, served as the grand marshal of New York City's annual LGBT Pride parade, and came in third place in Time magazine's "Person of the Year" poll in 2013. She will always be the light for the LGBTQ community who she loved so much and who loved her right back. I query everybody who has a long-ranging relationship and then gets married, and I ask, "Is it different the next morning?" and they all say yes.
Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1977.