Edith Windsor-The Defeater of DOMA has Died

On September 12th 2017 Edith Windsor died. Most likely due to heart issues. Ms. Windsor is credited with defeating the so-called ‘defense of marriage act’ or DOMA in the landmark case Windsor v. United States.

Windsor v. United States

Edith Windsor at Washington DC Pride

When her wife died on February 5, 2009, Windsor became the executor and sole beneficiary of her estate, via a revocable trust. Windsor was required to pay $363,053 in federal estate taxes on her inheritance of her wife’s estate. Had federal law recognized the validity of their marriage, Windsor would have qualified for an unlimited spousal deduction and paid no federal estate taxes. She therefore sued the government claiming the defense of marriage act violated the 5th amendment. The Supreme Court agreed. In June of 2013 it issued a ruling that overturned section 3 (the meat) of DOMA. 

A patriot and a hero

Ms. Windsor has long been an LGBT activist. In June 1969, Windsor and  her spouse returned from a vacation in Italy to discover the Stonewall Riots had begun the night before. In the following years, the couple publicly participated in LGBT marches and events. They also lent their Cadillac convertible to LGBT rights organizations.

She volunteered for the Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, the East End Gay Organization,[3] the LGBT Community Center, 1994 Gay Games New York, and helped found Old Queers Acting Up, an improv group utilizing skits to address social justice issues. She served on the board of Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE) from 1986 to 1988 and again from 2005 to 2007.

Windsor continued to be a public advocate for same-sex marriage in the years following United States v. Windsor. She helped Senator Dianne Feinstein and Representative Jerrold Nadler introduce the Respect for Marriage Act at a press conference in Washington, D.C. in 2011. She was also a prominent supporter of Israeli LGBT rights group A Wider Bridge.

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