Edith Windsor, the sole plaintiff in a 2013 Supreme Court case that served as a landmark legal victory paving the way for same-sex marriage equality and a prominent LGBTQ rights activist, died on Tuesday in Manhattan.
Windsor first rose to national prominence by suing the federal government for spousal benefits after her first wife, Thea Spyer, whom she'd legally married in Canada-died in 2009.
Thea Spyer, left, and Edie Windsor were a couple for 44 years and married for 20 months..
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Windsor said the marriage law meant she faced a huge estate tax bill she wouldn't have to pay if the law didn't discriminate against same-gender couples. In a 2015 decision that built upon the principles established in Windsor's case, the Supreme Court once again ruled in a 5-4 decision to legalize all marriages between same-sex couples. "When the Court struck down the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, it opened the door to nationwide marriage equality for same-sex couples".
"Our fierce heroine Edith Windsor devoted her final years to her people - the LGBTQ community - and will be remembered as a seminal figure in our inevitable march toward equality". A cause of death was not given, but Ms Windsor had struggled with heart issues for years, the Associated Press news agency reported.
The New York lesbian, who obtained a master's degree in Mathematics from New York University in 1957, was out as member of the LGBT community at a time when being gay was criminal under state law in many parts of the country. "We immediately just fit - our bodies fit", she says in the film. The two were married in 2016. And then she went to the Stonewall Inn to celebrate. A 2015 Supreme Court case struck down state laws regarding gay marriage. "The next generation is so far advanced over us", Windsor said. A year ago in an interview with the Washington Blade, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton identified Windsor as an LGBT person she sees as a role model. I also know that her memory will be a blessing not only to every LGBT person on this planet, but to all who believe in the concept of b'tzelem elohim, or equal dignity for all. "She touched countless lives, and we at GLAAD are deeply saddened by her passing, but her kindness, compassion, and legacy will endure", said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD.
"In court documents, Windsor said she told Spyer, "'If it still feels this goofy joyous, I'd like us to spend the rest of our lives together.' And we did'".