When Spyer died in 2009, Windsor found that she could not file for a marital deduction on Spyer's estate because of the federal government's definition of marriage as a commitment between a man and a woman. The cause of death was not immediately made known but it was known, even during the litigation of her lawsuit against the Defense of Marriage Act, that she suffered from heart disease.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that the provision of the law was unconstitutional and that same-sex couples should receive the same federal benefits that heterosexual couples have. Windsor was barred from obtaining the exemption under DOMA, which defined "marriage" as excluding same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage became legal in every state the U.S. in 2015.
Major LGBTQ organizations remembered Windsor as a champion of equality.
Edith Windsor attends the New York City Gay Pride 2017 march on June 25, 2017 in New York City. She was 88 years old.
"DOMA's principal effect is to identify a subset of state-sanctioned marriages and make them unequal", Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote.
And Kaplan acknowledged that even she anxious about Windsor's unembarrassed candor in talking about her personal relationship with Spyer. "It just seemed safer that way". "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".
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.
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: 'Edie Windsor is a hero and civil rights icon who pushed our country closer to the promise of a more flawless union. "People say I'm an icon". RIP Edie Windsor. We will continue your work.
"Edie was my close friend, supporter and a mentor", said Quinn, in a statement. In a 2013 interview with The New Yorker, she explained, "The minute I met Edie and heard the story and saw, frankly, how handsome she was and how articulate she was, I was, like, This is it: it couldn't have been a better case".
LGBTQ rights icon Edie Windsor passes away at age 88
America lost a hero today.
"I Lost my beloved wife Edie".
"I Also know that his memory will be a blessing not only to every LGBTQ person in this planet, but for all those who believe in concept of equal dignity for all", also said Kaplan.
"Edith felt deeply the injustice of being denied the right to marry her partner of more than 40 years, and she committed herself to fighting back with determination and a smile", Moodie-Mills said.
"Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor - and few made as big a difference to America", Obama said on Facebook. Though their marriage was recognized in NY state, the 1996 DOMA proscribed a federal definition of marriage that excluded same-sex couples.
A Very Long Engagement is now streaming for free on Here TV.
Born Edith Schlain to Jewish immigrants from Russian Federation, she grew up in Philadelphia and first realized she was gay while attending Temple University. Widowhood made her a gay rights pioneer.
"Marriage" is a magic word", according to the New Yorker. After 1977, when Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she led with her good leg, she told the Guardian. After a wedding in Canada, they were married for less than two.