Edith Windsor was a computer programmer who became a gay rights pioneer.
Back in 2013 she helped overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that kept same-sex couples from being recognized as spouses (and receiving federal marriage benefits) — and it all started because she wanted a tax refund.
She died today at the age of 88, according to the New York Times.
Windsor, who often went by her nickname, Edie, first met her future wife, Thea Spyer, at a Greenwich Village New York restaurant in 1963. But it wasn’t until two years later that Windsor started dating Spyer more seriously.
In 1967, Spyer proposed engagement. The two remained in legal limbo for 40 years, until the couple wed in Canada in 2007. When Spyer passed away in 2009, Windsor inherited her estate — but was forced to pay $363,053 because she didn’t qualify for a spousal exemption. Her marriage wasn’t legally recognized by the U.S. government.
She sued for a tax refund. Her case ended up all the way at the U.S. Supreme Court and resulted in the end of DOMA.
Her death elicited a huge response from LGBTQ activists and organizations, and politicians.
Major LGBTQ organizations remembered Windsor as a champion of equality.
Mourning Edie Windsor, a civil rights pioneer and trailblazer who defeated the Defense of Marriage Act & championed marriage equality.
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) September 12, 2017
An ACLU video from 2013 summarizes Windsor’s decades-long relationship with Spyer.
Like Windsor said, “Don’t postpone joy.”