LGBTQ rights icon Edie Windsor passes away at age 88

Thea Spyer left and Edie Windsor were a couple for 44 years and married for 20 months

Edith Windsor, the gay-rights activist whose landmark Supreme Court case struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and granted same-sex married couples federal recognition for the first time and rights to myriad federal benefits, died on Tuesday in Manhattan.

Roberta Kaplan, Windsor's lawyer in her landmark Supreme Court case, remembers her as a "true American hero".

On the day of oral arguments of her case in 2013, Windsor famously appeared before the media on the steps of the Supreme Court with an iconic pink scarf that flew in the wind.

Windsor's victory at the Supreme Court paved the way for nationwide same-sex marriage.

"Finally, I said, 'Honey, you deserve more, ' " Ms. Windsor told The New York Times. See a round-up of reactions below.

"One simply can not write the history of the gay rights movement without reserving vast credit and gratitude for Edie Windsor", Romero said. Edie, as she was known, met Spyer in 1963, following an unfulfilling marriage to the man who gave her her last name, and at the start of a successful career as a computer programmer.

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"Edie Windsor's willingness to stand up and challenge the government's discrimination against her has forever changed the path of LGBT rights in the United States", she added.

Windsor remarried in September 2016. "We immediately just fit - our bodies fit", she says in the film.

Windsor sued. DOMA had been 13 years on the books, signed by President Bill Clinton at a time when few Americans supported the notion of same-sex marriage. Spyer died in 2009, two years after the women married in Canada.

"The world lost a tiny but tough-as-nails fighter for freedom, justice and equality", said her current spouse, Judith Kasen-Windsor. "Edie was the light of my life". Spyer and Windsor were married in Canada in 2007, but their marriage was not recognized as legal in the United States because of DOMA. With Edie's passing, I lost not only a treasured client, but a member of my family.

The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate objective overcomes the goal and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. I know that Edie's memory will always be a blessing to [my wife] Rachel, myself, and [our son] Jacob. "My fiancé, Steve, and I owe her and those who fought in the courts with her for the very fact that we can be married this year. She touched countless lives, and we at GLAAD are deeply saddened by her passing, but her kindness, compassion, and legacy will endure".

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