LGBTQ rights icon Edie Windsor passes away at age 88

Edith Windsor Who Helped End Federal Gay Marriage Ban Dies at 88

AP File

Windsor, who brought a Supreme Court case that struck down parts of a federal law that banned same-sex marriage, died Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in NY, according to her attorney.

Edith Windsor, the LGBTQ activist and lead plaintiff in a landmark Supreme Court marriage equality case, died Tuesday at age 88, The New York Times reports.

She had sued the United States government after being ordered to pay $363,053 (£224,940) in federal estate tax after her previous wife died.

In 2007, Ms. Windsor, then 77, and Ms. Spyer, then 75, were residing in Southampton when they married in Toronto, where same-sex marriage was legal. While her case only applied to 13 states and the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriages were already legal, a Supreme Court decision two years later in 2015 declared same-sex couples had the constitutional right to marry anywhere in the nation.

Over four decades after uprisings at Stonewall Inn, Compton's Cafeteria and Cooper's Donuts started the modern LGBTQ rights movement, Windsor became a major advocate for marriage equality.

"Our fierce heroine Edith Windsor devoted her final years to her people - the LGBTQ community - and will be remembered as a seminal figure in our inevitable march toward equality. She will go down in the history books as a true American hero", Robert Kaplan, Windsor's attorney in United States vs. Windsor, said in a statement.

Windsor sued, instead saying "that the law, by recognizing only marriages between a man and a woman, unconstitutionally singled out same-sex marriage partners for "differential treatment". "We immediately just fit - our bodies fit", she says in the film. "Fight for what is right and change the world". While everyone else went out dancing, she waited up all night for Spyer to arrive-she finally showed up the next afternoon. The couple married in 2016. With Edie's passing, I lost not only a treasured client, but a member of my family.

And all of us should be saddened by Windsor's passing. "I also know that her memory will be a blessing not only to every LGBT person on this planet, but to all who believe in the concept of b'tzelem elohim, or equal dignity for all".

Born Edith Schlain, Windsor kept her last name after marrying Saul Windsor in a union that lasted just one year.

Spyer came into her life in 1963, and they became a couple two years later. In lieu of flowers, Windsor had requested that any donations in her memory be made to the NYC LGBT Center, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Services & Advocacy for LGBT Elders, or SAGE.

The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate objective overcomes the goal and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.

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