By Melanie Nathan, September 12, 2017
Today millions of LGBTQI Americans will mourn the loss of Edith Windsor. She will be remembered with deep admiration and fondness as an LGBTQI rights icon and champion.
Edie passed away peacefully today at age 88. She touched the lives of so many people beyond her activism and beyond her historic case which brought marriage equality to all of the United States.
Edie’s landmark SCOTUS case, United States v. Windsor, where she was represented by attorney Roberta Kaplan, overturned the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, bringing federal rights to LGBTQ married couples in 13 states and the District of Columbia, and paving the way for subsequent cases that brought marriage protections to same-sex couples nationwide.
What was so special, to my way of thinking, about Edie, was reflected through her case: She was a dynamo, a courageous protagonist, an authentic Plaintiff. Edie was not recruited for marriage equality – unlike much of what we see in today’s activism world. Edie refused to give up on her rights and she sought and fought on her own until she found an attorney to take on her case. Fortunately attorney Robbie Kaplan had a courage fit for Edie’s and so she took on the case.
I will always remember Edie with gratitude for her tenacious determination to fight for her rights and our rights, for the loving embrace of her humanity, and her effortless friendship toward all who she met. She was one of those people who had the capacity to make everyone feel special and important. She stood proudly and strongly identifying as an open Jewish lesbian.
We send condolences to her widow, Judith Kasen, all family, friends and the entire LGBTQI community. She will be sorely missed. Zichrona liv’racha … May her beautiful soul always be a for a blessing.
I will keep adding statements of remembrance updates to this page:
Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement on the passing of Edith Windsor:
“Edie Windsor was unafraid to stand up when she knew she was being discriminated against, and ultimately, the Supreme Court agreed. Because of her bravery, the nation saw a significant leap forward for LGBTQ equality. While much work remains, the actions of courageous individuals like Edie have helped move us forward as we work towards a more perfect union. We extend our sympathies to her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, and all those who were touched by this amazing woman.”
Kasey Suffredini, acting CEO and president of strategy at Freedom for All Americans, released the following statement on Windsor’s passing:
“This is a sad day for LGBTQ Americans. Edith Windsor was a courageous advocate whose fight for equality and justice granted important legal rights to same-sex couples. While she can never be replaced, she has made an indelible mark on our nation’s history, ensuring that loving and committed same-sex couples are treated fairly in the eyes of the law.
“While we are sad to say goodbye, her legacy will continue to inspire and guide our efforts to ensure LGBTQ Americans are protected equally under the law.”
According to a statement from TLDEF Executive Director Jillian Weiss
The U.S. Supreme Court opinion in U.S. v. Windsor is one of those paving the way for transgender rights to be viewed as constitutional rights.
“Today we have lost a giant in the LGBTQ rights movement. Edie Windsor’s fight for justice helped bring marriage equality to thousands of loving and committed same-sex couples, including transgender couples, who just wanted the same opportunity to take care of and be responsible for one another. Edie’s decades-long devotion to her late wife, Thea Spyer, moved and inspired us all. Her fight to overturn DOMA transformed her from an everyday hero to one of the most visible and admired LGBTQ rights figures in history. In 2014, TLDEF honored Ms. Windsor at our 9th Anniversary Benefit for her tireless activism on behalf of us all. Today we mourn her loss and we thank her for making a monumental contribution to LGBTQ equality. We also send our deepest condolences to Edie’s wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, whom she married in 2016.”