Same-Sex Marriage Pioneer Edith Windsor Dies at 88

Edith Windsor, the gay-rights pioneer whose case at the U.S. Supreme Court paved the way for the legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide, has died at age 88. Windsor, who married her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor last year, was the lead plaintiff in a 2013 case that preceded the 2015 high court ruling that legalized gay marriage nationwide. Windsor was challenging the Defense of Marriage Act, a 1996 law that prevented her from accessing federal benefits entitled to heterosexual couples. Windsor married Thea Spyer in 2007 in Canada, but Spyer died in 2009 and Windsor was subjected to estate taxes of more than $350,000 when she inherited Spyer’s estate. Former President Barack Obama released a lengthy statement later Tuesday praising Windsor as a trailblazer. “America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fueled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right,” Obama said. “Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor—and few made as big a difference to America.”