On Tuesday, renowned LGBTQ rights advocate Edith Windsor died, leaving behind a legacy of passionate advocacy on behalf of the LGBTQ community. With the loss of this wonderful reformer and icon, it is important to look back on her legacy. Indeed, there are many amazing quotes from Windsor that highlight her passion for LGBTQ rights — and sharing them constitutes a way of honoring her memory by looking back at all of her transformational contributions on behalf of the LGBTQ community.
Edith Windsor sued the U.S. government in a landmark Supreme Court case, United States v. Windsor. Windsor sued because she had been required to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal and state property taxes on an estate inheritance following the death of her spouse, Thea Spyer. At the time, heterosexual married couples were exempt from paying these taxes, while same sex couples were not. Windsor ultimately won her case in 2013, which rendered key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. It also helped pave the way for another lawsuit, Obergefell v. Hodges, which guaranteed the right to marry to same sex couples in 2015.
Beyond her court case, Windsor became an icon and advocate in the LGBTQ community, grand marshaling gay pride parades and actively participating in LGBTQ organizational events, among other activities.
Windsor will be sorely missed by many in the LGBTQ community and beyond. As a tribute to her and her inspiring advocacy, the following are a collection of quotes that demonstrate Windsor's concerted dedication to fighting for LGBTQ rights.
1. Why Marriage Should Be Universal
Married is a magic word ... And it is magic throughout the world. It has to do with our dignity as human beings, to be who we are openly.
2. Why She's An Advocate
If you have to outlive a great love, I can’t think of a better way to do it than being everybody’s hero. Suddenly I’m exalted, instead of being this goofy old lady, which is what I feel like.
3. The Promise Of The Next Generation
The next generation is so far advanced over us ... I love that a lot of younger people now come out that would never have come out in the old days. Of course, they are born into a community already. They just have to discover it, whereas we were still building it.
4. Justice Will Prevail
I trust the Constitution. Sometimes there's a mistake, but mostly we move forward. I think we are going to win just because I think justice will prevail. Is that crazy?
5. Doing It For Everybody
I don't think I could stand to tell everybody, 'Hey, I got my money back and you got nothing ... My heart was set on our doing it for everybody.'
6. Reflections After DOMA Is Ruled Unconstitutional
Gay Americans have affected the thinking and feeling [of people] who will come to see us as human beings who live and love as they do ... What a life I’ve had, full of love and joy. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. And now is when I try not to cry.
7. A Phone Call With The President After DOMA's Defeat
Hello, who am I talking to ... Oh, Barack Obama? I wanted to thank you. I think your coming out for us made such a difference throughout the country
8. On Today's LGBTQ Community
There is this growth of a sense of community that is glorious ... Try, if all your life you knew you couldn’t have it and now suddenly you can, or suddenly it looks like you are going to be able to because people are fighting for it and working at it. So everybody is up and everybody is out more and more .... It balloons — the more of us there are, the more of us there are, the more of us there are. And it’s joyous. It’s very joyous.”
9. Why Everyone Should Have The Right To Marry
The day after [we got married], we felt differently. I query everybody who has a long-ranging relationship and then gets married, and I ask, 'Is it different the next morning?' and they all say yes. There’s some legitimacy that we didn’t know we were lacking. … I think that the truth is that if you really care about the quality of somebody’s life as much as you do your own, you have it made.
Overall, Edith Windsor clearly left an important legacy behind and will forever be remembered as a passionate LGBTQ advocate. You can be certain that future generations will forever be indebted to her and will proudly carry on her legacy.