Edie Windsor, the Matriarch of Marriage Equality, Dies at 88 - Reactions

Edie Windsor, the Matriarch of Marriage Equality, Dies at 88 - Reactions

Gay rights activist Edith Windsor, whose same-sex marriage fight led to a landmark USA ruling, has died aged 88.

Windsor was the lead plaintiff in the 2013 United States 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.

Windsor has always been admired as a champion for LGBT rights, and her landmark case against the federal government ended up striking down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act that prevented the federal recognition of same-sex marriages. They became partners in the 1960s and were finally able to marry in Canada in 2007.

When numerous lower courts ruled in favor of marriage equality after June 2013, they cited Windsor's case as precedent. It was this injustice that set Windsor on a path to challenge - and eventually win her case against - the United States over the Defense of Marriage Act.

Windsor's victory at the Supreme Court paved the way for nationwide same-sex marriage. In addition to QNotes, his work has appeared in publications such The Charlotte Observer, Creative Loafing Charlotte, LGBTQ Nation and The Pride L.A. He graduated from the State University of NY at Brockport and has lived in Charlotte since 2006. DOMA, which banned all federal recognition of same sex marriage, barred her from receiving those benefits.

Windsor's first spouse, Thea Spyer, died in 2009.

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Sarah Kate Ellis, CEO and President of GLAAD commented on Windsor's passing, saying: "Edie Windsor is a legend who changed the course of history for the better". "The next generation is so far advanced over us", Windsor said. Thea Spyer and Windsor became a lifelong couple and in 1967, Spyer proposed.

"She will go down in the history books as a true American hero", Kaplan said.

A public memorial will be held Friday, Sept. 15 at 12:30 pm at Riverside Memorial Chapel in New York City.

"Representing Edie Windsor was and will always be the greatest honor of my life". With Edie's passing, I lost not only a treasured client, but a member of my family. 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. I know that Edie's memory will always be a blessing to [my wife] Rachel, myself, and [our son] Jacob.

While Windor's case struck down the heart of the Defense of Marriage Act, it only protected marriage equality in those states that already allowed it.