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Same-sex marriage legend Edith Windsor dies at 88

13 September 2017

A decade after the 2003 Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas decriminalized gay sex in the United States, Windsor became one face of a revolutionary push for equality for the LGBTQ community.

Her wife, Judith Karen-Windsor, confirmed her death to the New York Times, although the cause of death has not yet been specified.

Windsor was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 USA supreme court case that struck down the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, giving gay and lesbian couples access to federal benefits and laying the foundation for the landmark decision to legalize same-sex marriage across the country in 2015.

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In 1977, when Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, Windsor cared for her around the clock; they married in 2007 in a Toronto ceremony officiated by Canada's first openly gay judge.

On the day of oral arguments of her case in 2013, Windsor famously appeared before the media on the steps of the Supreme Court with an iconic pink scarf that flew in the wind. The opinion became the basis for the wave of federal court rulings that struck down state marriage bans and led to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry. She was the grand marshal of the New York City Pride Parade that year and, per the Times, a runner-up alongside Pope Francis for Time magazine's Person of the Year.

We reached out to Roberta Kaplan, Windsor's longtime lawyer and close friend, for comment.

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"I lost my beloved spouse Edie, and the world lost a tiny but tough as nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality". After Spyer passed, the United States government saddled her with outrageous estate taxes she was forced to pay because her marriage wasn't recognized by law. As she explained to OUT about their first meeting, "We made love all afternoon and went dancing all night-and that was the beginning".

"One simply can not write the history of the gay rights movement without reserving enormous credit and gratitude for Edie Windsor", Romero said. And then she went to the Stonewall Inn to celebrate. The two, both LGBT activists, married in September 2016 and moved into Ms. Windsor's Southampton home.

Windsor and her partner, Spyer, kept their relationship secret for years, as Windsor worked as a computer programmer for IBM, and Spyer worked as a psychologist.

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A public memorial for Windsor will be held on Friday, Sept. 15 at Riverside Memorial Chapel at 12:30 p.m. "She touched countless lives, and we at GLAAD are deeply saddened by her passing, but her kindness, compassion, and legacy will endure".

Same-sex marriage legend Edith Windsor dies at 88