Champion of marriage equality dies at 88

Edie Windsor

Edie, as she was known, met Spyer in 1963, following an unfulfilling marriage to the man who gave her her last name, and at the start of a successful career as a computer programmer. While her case only applied to 13 states and the District of Columbia, where same-sex marriages were already legal, a Supreme Court decision two years later in 2015 declared same-sex couples had the constitutional right to marry anywhere in the nation. 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. Windsor said she nearly died as well, suffering total heart stoppage while hospitalized for stress cardiomyopathy, or "broken heart syndrome".

Windsor spent decades working tirelessly as an LGBTQ activist in and around NY, including once going to so far to donate her Cadillac to a Village Halloween parade in Manhattan where, upon seeing her name on the car's "donated by" sign, she turned to Spyer, and said "It's a whole new world".

"One simply can not write the history of the gay rights movement without reserving enormous credit and gratitude for Edie Windsor", Romero said.

Windsor came to national prominence after she sued the federal government for not recognizing her marriage to her late first wife.

The New York Times and the Associated Press confirmed Windsor's death with her wife and her attorney.

Windsor told the assembled reporters that the case marked "the beginning of the end of stigma, of lying about who we are".


Windsor was born in Philadelphia in 1929. Her father lost his candy and ice cream store, then his house, in the Great Depression, she said, according to a 2012 article in the New York Times.

But she was congratulated by President Barack Obama, and she later served as the Grand Marshal of New York City's Pride March.

Windsor's first marriage was to Thea Spyer.

The couple had met at a gay rights event and began dating in 2015 and lived together in Manhattan. After 1977, when Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she led with her good leg, she told the Guardian. They waited 40 years before they got married in Canada. Spyer died at age 75 in 2009.

"I lost my beloved spouse Edie, and the world lost a tiny but tough as nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality", Kasen-Windsor said.

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