Celebrities, politicians and LGBTQ rights advocates alike offered heartfelt words in honor of Edith "Edie" Windsor, who died Tuesday at the age of 88. Windsor and her first spouse, Thea Spyer, married legally in Canada in 2007, having been together for over 40 years.
United States v. Windsor, the civil rights case, made it to the Supreme Court in 2013, when the apex court ruled that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act - which stated the legal designation of "spouse" only applies to marriages between a woman and a man - was unconstitutional, the New York Times reported. The cause of her death was not given, but Ms Windsor had been struggling with a heart condition for years.
Windsor would marry again, to Judith Kasen-Windsor, last year. In a 2013 interview with The New Yorker, she explained, "The minute I met Edie and heard the story and saw, frankly, how lovely she was and how articulate she was, I was, like, This is it: it couldn't have been a better case". I know that Edie's memory will always be a blessing to [my wife] Rachel, myself, and [our son] Jacob.
"I thought about Edie that day", Obama said of Windsor's landmark case.
- Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) September 13, 2017Very sad to read of Edith Windsor's passing.
Born Edith Schlain to Jewish immigrants from Russian Federation, she grew up in Philadelphia and first realized she was gay while attending Temple University. "It really was. Something like three weeks before Thea died she said: 'Jesus we're still in love, aren't we'".
In her interview with Metro Weekly, Windsor expressed concern over the appointment of Judge Neil Gorsuch, but nonetheless advised present-day activists to "hang in" and stay connected with other members of their community as they fight back against any attempts to erode or overturn policies guaranteeing LGBTQ equality.
Susan Sommer, director of constitutional litigation for Lambda Legal, said Windsor "fearlessly stood up for herself and her community". Same-sex marriage became legal in every state the U.S. in 2015.
She met Spyer, her long-time partner, some years later.
She later received a masters degree in applied mathematics from New York University.
Windsor and Spyer's relationship was the subject of a touching 2009 documentary, Edie and Thea: A Very Long Engagement, that has won numerous awards.
Spyer came into her life in 1963, and they became a couple two years later. This isn't to say that Windsor's or Obergefell's cases were some great end point for L.G.B.T.Q rights-if there's one thing the Trump administration has demonstrated in its first months in office, it's that those of us who care about equality must remain vigilant in fighting to protect what gains have been made and working to expand them. She became a computer programmer at IBM in 1958.
Windsor leaves behind her second wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor.