Edie Windsor, Civil Rights Icon and Hero, Has Died

In Memoriam Influential People We've Lost This Year

Kaplan, who took Windsor's case to the Supreme Court and successfully argued the 1996 law was unconstitutional, said in a statement being Windsor's lawyer "was and will always be the greatest honor of my life".

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. 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. See a round-up of reactions below. Windsor called them and said, "I know this is presumptuous, but, please, can I come stay with you?" 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.

Windsor's path to gay-rights icon stretches back to 1962, when she met her wife-to-be in a Greenwich Village restaurant. The two, both LGBT activists, married in September 2016 and moved into Ms. Windsor's Southampton home.

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

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.

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Judith Kasen-Windsor issued a statement Tuesday confirming Windsor's death, but didn't disclose a cause.

Windsor lived with her first wife, Thea Spyer, for more than 40 years. She told The New Yorker's _ Ariel Levy_ in a 2013 profile, "I don't know how to say it that's not corny as hell-I've been having a love affair with the gay community". "She will go down in the history books as a true American hero".

This led to a wider 2015 ruling which legalised same-sex marriage in all 50 states. With Edie's passing, I lost not only a treasured client, but a member of my family. She fought for dignity and laid the foundation for marriage equality. "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.

The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate objective overcomes the goal and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity.

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