Edith Windsor, Champion of Marriage Rights, Dies at 88

Edith Windsor, who served as a plaintiff in the landmark Supreme Court case that eliminated the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), died today at the age of 88. Known by friends and family as "Edie," she is survived by her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, who she married in 2016.


Edith's Supreme Court case centered on a remedial matter long taken for granted by married heterosexual couples: taxes. After Edith's partner of 40 years, Thea Spyer, passed in 2009, she inherited her estate. Though the couple had been legally married two years earlier in Canada, their marriage was not legally recognized in the United States on account of DOMA, which prohibited the recognition of same-sex marriages on the federal level. As a result, Edith was forced to pay $363,053 in taxes that she would not have had she been in a heterosexual marriage—just one of over 1,138 rights that were previously denied LGBTQ same-sex families due to DOMA..

After suing, her case would ultimately end up at the Supreme Court and strike down DOMA, which in turn led to the legalization of same-sex marriage in 13 states and the District of Columbia. Though nationwide marriage equality wouldn't be legalized for another two years, the Windsor decision allowed many binational couples, including the co-founders of Gays With Kids, to move their families back to the United States after years spent abroad.

Following her star turn as Supreme Court plaintiff, Edith continued advocating on behalf of LGBTQ individuals, families, and elders up to her last day. Gays With Kids joins with the broader LGBTQ community in mourning Edith's passing. But the impact she has had on our families will never be forgotten.

For more information on Edith Windsor's life fighting on behalf of LGBTQ rights, read the detailed account published earlier today in the New York Times, who first reported her passing.

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