Marriage Equality Pioneer Edith Windsor Dead At Age 88

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP)Edith Windsor, the woman who brought a Supreme Court case that struck down parts of a federal law that banned same-sex marriage, has died. She was 88.

An attorney for the marriage equality pioneer says she died Tuesday in New York.

Windsor was 81 when she sued the federal government in 2010 over the Defense of Marriage Act following the death of her first spouse, Thea Spyer. They legally married in Canada in 2007 after being together for more than 40 years.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo tweeted saying he was heartbroken to learn the news and that he was going to miss his friend.

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.

“So overwhelmed with a sense of injustice and unfairness, I decided to bring the lawsuit against
the government to get my money back,” Windsor said in a 2013 interview.

The 2013 Supreme Court opinion became the basis for the wave of federal court rulings that struck down state marriage bans and led to a 2015 Supreme Court ruling giving same-sex couples the right to marry.

On the day that the Supreme Court decision came down, Windsor said, “It makes me feel incredibly proud and humble.”

But she was well aware of what she had come to symbolize, WCBS 880’s Alex Silverman reported.

“The beginning of the end of stigma, OK, of lying about who we are… it’s a different level of dignity than we’ve had,” she said.

Asked, “What is love?” Windsor said to her, it means, “Don’t postpone joy.”

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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