Edith Windsor, the gay rights activist whose same sex marriage made the Supreme Court give the federal rights to gays and lesbians in 2013 in the United States, died at 88, Bloomberg reported. The news of her death was revealed by her spouse Judith Kasen-Windsor, whom she married in 2016. The cause of her death is unknown, but she had been suffering from heart disease for years.

Windsor's first same sex marriage was not accepted

Windsor's Supreme court case struck down part of the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996 to allow same-sex married couples to take benefits of federal rights and to legalize the same-sex marriage across the country in 2015.

According to the previous act, marriage was legal only between one man and one woman.

Windsor sued the United States government when the Internal Revenue Service (a federal agency) penalized her and ordered her to pay $363,053 in estate taxes after the death of her former spouse Thea Spyer in 2009. She said that she would not be under the obligation to pay tax “if I had been married to a man named Theo” rather than a woman named Thea.

The couple had been in a relationship for 44 years and married in 2007, but the United States did not recognize their marriage under the U.S. law, so Windsor was not allowed to own their apartment in New York and cottage without tax. She married her second wife, Judith Kasen-Windsor in 2016.

They met each other in 2015, the Guardian reported.

How did Windsor become the hero of gay rights?

Windsor was born in 1929 in Pennsylvania as Edith Schlain. She had started her journey to become a hero of the gay rights movement back in 1962 when she met her lifelong partner, Thea Spyer in a restaurant while dancing. She said that "It was a love affair that just kept on and on and on." She also added before her wife's death that they are still in love with each other.

The couple lived together for more than forty years in Manhattan. Windsor had a master's degree in mathematics and later became a technology manager at IBM, an IT firm. The couple participated in gay rights movements following the Stonewall Riots in 1969.

Judith Kasen-Windsor said that "Edie was the light of my life." She added that LGBTQ community will always love her to whom Windsor loved so much.

Former US President Barack Obama expressed his sorrow for her, saying that "America's long journey towards equality has been guided by countless small acts of persistence." He said that Edie Windsor was among those who raised their voice towards equality, according to BBC.