Candlelight Memorial Held For Edie Windsor At Stonewall

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"Today, JTS signed on to a brief at the United States Supreme Court arguing that the marriages of gay people should be respected under the law".

Two years later, to the day, we took another step forward on our journey as the Supreme Court recognized a Constitutional guarantee of marriage equality. After Spyer died in 2009, Windsor inherited her estate but was left with over $350,000 in estate taxes because same-sex married couples weren't entitled to the same benefits as straight married couples under DOMA. Her wife Judith Kasen-Windsor made the announcement but did not share the cause of death.

"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", former President Barack Obama said.

By bringing her revolutionary suit, Windsor was simply fighting to make her life - all of our (LGBT) lives - ordinary.

Outraged, she went to court, knowing that the case was about more than taxes or even marriage. She pursued her case all the way to the Supreme Court, and in a narrow ruling in 2013, the court decided that the federal government must abide by the laws of individual states in its dealings with couples from those states.

That opinion became the foundation for the federal court rulings, and in 2015 a Supreme Court ruling granted same-sex couples the right to marry. In the ensuing months, the central reasoning of the case was cited by courts in several states that found gay marriage bans unlawful.

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It also affronted conservatives who hewed to defining marriage as between a man and a woman.

"Few were as small in stature as Edie Windsor - and few made as big a difference to America", Obama said. "By formally declaring anyone opposed to same-sex marriage an enemy of human decency", Scalia wrote, "the majority arms well every challenger" to rules or laws that treat L.G.B.T. Americans as less than equal. The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, he said that his heart is broken by death of whom he called his friend.

The love of Windsor's life was Thea Spyer, a woman she met more than 40 years earlier in the Big Apple. It seemed to her not only wrong but an insult to her marriage. The couple had been partners for 44 years and had married in Canada in 2007.

Concerned that an engagement ring would bring unwanted attention to Windsor's sexual orientation, Spyer gave her a diamond brooch instead.

Spyer was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1977, and her physical condition deteriorated over the decades. The women married in Canada when they realized they might not live long enough to see NY legalize same-sex marriage.

Meanwhile, Civil Liberties Union said that was a "tireless champion of love, equality, and justice, whose courage and tenacity transformed landscape of civil rights through country". It did in 2011. In 2013, she was the runner-up for TIME magazine's "Person of the Year" designation.