They took risks, defied expectations, spoke out, redefined cool and made us proud to call them members and allies of our community.
This year we lost a woman who came to symbolize the triumph of marriage equality in the United States of America. The details of her precedent-setting case are relatively straightforward: Windsor and Thea Spyer had been partners for four decades before finally tying the knot in Canada in 2007. When Spyer died just two years later, Windsor inherited her estate. But because the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) prevented them from being legally recognized as spouses, the IRS presented Windsor with a bill for over $350,000. Windsor sued for a refund, and the case ultimately reached the Supreme Court, where the decision in her favor struck down DOMA’s definition of marriage as a union between a woman and a man. Although at the time that only meant the government would recognize unions in states that had marriage equality, it’s impossible to overstate the momentum that built toward marriage. While we note her passing with sadness, it is with abundant happiness that we remember how she lived to bask in the glow of her victory. To be at a benefit or Pride event Windsor attended was to witness an outpouring of love and gratitude from a community whose loving unions had been long denied. Edith Windsor was a champion of love. She is survived by her second wife Judith Kasen-Windsor and will be greatly missed by all.
Want more inspiration? Check out our People We Love section to learn about past year’s People We Love. Also from our archives, read Looking Back on the Heroes of Marriage Equality.
Last modified: October 22, 2018