Here's What To Know About Edith Windsor, Who Helped Legalize Gay Marriage
Sep 15, 2017, 00:23
On a practical level, because of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act, or DOMA, I was taxed $363,000 in federal estate tax that I would not have had to pay if I had been married to a man named Theo instead of a woman named Thea. She and Spyer were prominent gay rights activists. Judith Kasen-Windsor, whom Windsor married a year ago, confirmed her death in a statement.
"The world lost a tiny but tough-as-nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality", her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor was quoted as saying.
But she was wary to reveal her sexuality to co-workers and it was not until 1967, when Ms. Spyer proposed to Ms. Windsor, that she became publicly open.
TOTENBERG: She moved to New York City, worked as a secretary, got a master's degree in mathematics at NYU, and soon was on her way to a career as a top programmer at IBM. After 1977, when Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she led with her good leg, she told the Guardian. Spyer died two years later. And in the weeks afterward, as Windsor looked at the bills she now faced, she was confronted with a awful truth. "I never told the truth in those years - and then I told the truth plenty afterwards". It's heartbreaking. It's just a bad injustice. "Did I ever think we would be discussing equality in marriage?" She made a decision to file a suit.
Windsor appealed. She was the lead plaintiff of a lawsuit alleging unconstitutional discrimination, and in 2013, the Supreme Court struck down DOMA in 13 states and Washington.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, joining the liberals, wrote the 5-4 opinion striking down the law that he said placed "same-sex couples in an unstable position of being in a second-tier marriage". It was a victory for families, and for the principle that all of us should be treated equally, regardless of who we are or who we love. Windsor, a former IBM consultant known as "Edie", and Thea Spyer, a psychologist, met in the 1960s in a NY restaurant and spent four decades engaged to be married before they finally tied the knot in Canada in 2007.
On the day the high court handed down its DOMA ruling, former President Barack Obama appeared at a press conference.
When she served as the grand marshal of the Long Island Pride Parade in 2014, she was the first to have security walk along side her convertible because so many people wanted to rush up and thank her, organizers said. They deserve our gratitude.
And though Windsor acknowledged having come out only "selectively" for most of her life, she contributed quietly to the LGBT movement prior to her lawsuit, and many media reports referred to her as the "matriach" of the LGBT civil rights movement.
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