Edith Windsor, the plaintiff whose case led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex marriage, died Tuesday in Manhattan at 88, her widow and attorney said.
Windsor’s 2013 victory over a section in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) turned her into a gay rights icon and energized the movement that eventually toppled bans against gay marriage in this country. After the death of her first wife, Windsor, a retired IBM systems programmer, found herself in the limelight when she fought against paying a $363,053 estate tax bill because the IRS refused to grant the same exemptions given to heterosexual couples.
“The world lost a tiny but tough as nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality,” said the activist’s second spouse, Judith Kasen-Windsor. “Edie was the light of my life. She will always be the light for the LGBTQ community which she loved so much and which loved her right back.”
Windsor was an ally for Long Island’s gay community, helping to cement the movement in the suburbs over the past 10 years by hosting the LGBT Network’s summer kickoff each year at her Southampton home and speaking at numerous events, such as the grand opening of the East End’s first LGBT community center, her friends said.
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