February 21, 2018

Edie Windsor, Mother of Marriage Equality, Dead at 88

13 September 2017, 12:45 | Kara Nash

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Edie Windsor, the plaintiff whose lawsuit against the federal government forced it to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples and the federal benefits to which they are legally entitled, passed away at her home in NY on Tuesday.

"Today, we lost one of this country's great civil rights pioneers, Edie Windsor". As the story goes, the pair met and danced the night away. "It's kind of insane - we lived together for 40 years".

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.

This led to Windsor paying taxes of $363,053 and filing her lawsuit which accused the federal government of singling out same-sex partners for "differential treatment".

"We've lost a lesbian national treasure, someone who committed to love and never stopped pushing for change".

"Don't let anything make you feel that somehow they can beat us, because they can't", she said at the time.

She later received a masters degree in applied mathematics from New York University.

But the couple could not marry in NY during Spyer's lifetime.

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Born Edith Schlain, Windsor kept her last name after marrying Saul Windsor in a union that lasted just one year. In 2007, the couple flew to Toronto, Canada, for a ceremony before six of their closest friends.

Ms. Spyer was suffering from multiple sclerosis at the time, and died two years later.

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.

As a result of her case, same-sex couples who were married in the District of Columbia and the 13 states where marriage equality had been legalized prior to the decision were entitled to federal recognition, including the right to inherit property from their spouses tax-free, as well as the right to receive tax breaks, Social Security survivor and veterans' benefits, and insurance coverage for health care. But it cleared the way for gay rights activists to place an even bigger target in their crosshairs, a slew of state-level bans on same-sex marriage itself. A 2015 Supreme Court case struck down state laws regarding gay marriage.

Her wife, she said, would have been proud of her achievement.

Windsor remarried in September 2016.

Two years after that, Spyer proposed to Windsor, an occasion they marked with a diamond brooch - rather than a diamond ring - and thus began the pair's four decades-long engagement. "My fiancé, Steve, and I owe her and those who fought in the courts with her for the very fact that we can be married this year".

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