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Gay rights pioneer Edith Windsor dies at 88

15 September 2017
Gay rights pioneer Edith Windsor dies at 88

Her attorney says she died Tuesday in Manhattan.

"The world lost a tiny but tough-as-nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality", her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor was quoted as saying.

Windsor's case, United States v. Windsor, made it to the Supreme Court, and in 2013, the Court ruled in her favor.

In her lawsuit, Windsor claimed that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, which only granted federal recognition to marriages between a man and a woman, was unconstitutional because it singled out sam-sex marriage partners for disparate treatment.

Windsor sued the government when she received a bill for an estate tax after the passing of her first wife, which led the Supreme Court to issue a decision in 2013 overturning part of the Defense of Marriage Act. Although the cause of Windsor's death was not publicly known at the time of publication, she had experienced health challenges for years, including an instance of stress cardiomyopathy in 2009 - also known as broken heart syndrome.

Windsor remarried in September 2016.

Ms. Windsor moved to New York in the mid-1950s and earned a master's degree in applied mathematics from New York University. I know that Edie's memory will always be a blessing to [my wife] Rachel, myself, and [our son] Jacob. "The next generation is so far advanced over us", Windsor said. Widowhood made her a gay rights pioneer. "One simply can not write the history of the gay rights movement without reserving huge credit and gratitude for Edie Windsor".

Windsor was born in Philadelphia in 1929.

"I think of the people in this room as sort of the "mainstream gays" now, but there are tons of gays who are hidden still. and we have to be responsible for them and we have to help make everything possible for them", she said.

Moreover, the story of her marriage to Spyer, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, was sure to appeal to a jury: "Talk about a marriage!" But in 2015, the Supreme Court struck down some 37 state marriage bans, giving same-sex couples the right to marry from coast to coast.

She had kept her sexual orientation a secret from colleagues for years and met Spyer in 1963 at a restaurant.

Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal, said Windsor "fearlessly stood up for herself and her community".

They officially started dating in 1965 and in 1967, Spyer proposed to Windsor, which led to a long engagement of 40 years. The marriage was over within a year, and Windsor moved to NY and eventually became immersed in the gay community. "She will always be the light for the LGBTQ community which she loved so much and which loved her right back".

Then settled in NY, where he worked as a programmer for IBM company and where, as indicated in an interview, could be openly lesbian. They continued to cross paths over the next two years, but it wasn't until the summer of 1965, four years before Stonewall, that the pair began dating.

According to the Advocate, a public memorial will be held September 15 in NY.