Edith Windsor is an Iconic Symbol of Love and LGBTQ Equality
Sep 15 2017
LGBT activist and icon Edith Windsor passed away in Manhattan on Tuesday at the age of 88.
Her first date with her second wife, Kasen-Windsor, whom she married a year ago, was at a Hannukah party. It's now considered the second most important Supreme Court case for LGBTI rights, following 2015's ruling legalizing marriage equality.
Her legal action was prompted by the death a year earlier of her first spouse, Thea Spyer, who she married legally in 2007 in Canada following a four-decade-long relationship. Windsor challenged the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibited the federal government from recognizing the couple's marriage, after she received a $363,000 estate tax bill following Spyer's death.
Kaplan, who took Windsor's case to the Supreme Court and successfully argued the 1996 law was unconstitutional, said in a statement being Windsor's lawyer "was and will always be the greatest honor of my life".
Windsor later married Windsor after attaining a bachelors degree from Temple in 1950 but divorced after less than a year. "I'm thrilled, I'm absolutely thrilled", she told the New Yorker as guests crowded her apartment. "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". Kaplan said Windsor's win was a landmark for Jews, particularly. And she belonged to the now-dissolved East End Gay Organization.
Known as "Edie" to most, Windsor was 84 when she became an internationally recognized plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the DOMA.
After the ruling, Windsor embraced her newfound fame: "If you have to outlive a great love, I can't think of a better way to do it than being everybody's hero".
Windsor's unlikely legal battle toppled a key section of the Defense of Marriage Act, which had denied married gay and lesbian couples the same federal benefits enjoyed by others.
Windsor claimed that DOMA violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution by singling out same-sex marriage partners.
They officially started dating in 1965 and in 1967, Spyer proposed to Windsor, which led to a long engagement of 40 years. The pair wore broaches in lieu of wedding rings, which would become a trademark of the LGBT rights movement during the litigation which propelled Windsor to prominence.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: 'Edie Windsor is a hero and civil rights icon who pushed our country closer to the promise of a more flawless union.
Then settled in NY, where he worked as a programmer for IBM company and where, as indicated in an interview, could be openly lesbian.
Michelle and I offer our condolences to her wife, Judith, and to all who loved and looked up to Edie Windsor. They married in 2016.
According to the Advocate, a public memorial will be held September 15 in NY.