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Same-sex marriage pioneer Edie Windsor dies aged 88

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Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton pay tribute to the lesbian activist who changed LGBT rights in the US forever.

Edith “Edie” Windsor, the woman whose same-sex marriage saw the Supreme Court overturn Section 3 of the Defence of Marriage Act (DoMA), has died aged 88. Her wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor, confirmed the news.

Windsor became a household name in 2013 when she sued the United States government after they ordered her to pay $363,053 (£224,940) in federal estate tax after the death of her then wife, Thea Spyer, who died in 2009. Under the DoMA, same-sex marriages were not federally recognised, meaning Windsor was denied the same estate-tax break heterosexual couples were granted.

The United States vs. Windsor case became a landmark ruling in the US, granting same-sex couples federal recognition for the first time and securing Windsor a place in the history books.

In the same year as Section 3 of the DoMA was deemed unlawful, Time magazine placed Windsor as runner-up in their Person of the Year nomination:

“The gay community is my ‘Person of the Year’”, responded Windsor, “and I look forward to continuing to fight for equal rights and educate the public about our lives alongside my gay brothers and sisters and our allies.

“Even without taking the ‘Person of the Year’ even being in the top five is an extraordinary way to end a year that has been historic for all of us and truly spectacular for me […]. Thea would be thrilled, proud and so happy to see what we have all accomplished together.”

In a statement on his official Facebook page, Former US President Barack Obama said of Windsor:

“America’s long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence, and fuelled by the stubborn willingness of quiet heroes to speak out for what’s right. Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor – and few made as big a difference to America.

“I had the privilege to speak with Edie a few days ago, and to tell her one more time what a difference she made to this country we love.”

Many others have taken to social media to express their gratitude.

Rest in power, Edie.

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