Edith Windsor, the plaintiff in the 2013 United States Supreme Court case that struck down a federal law defining marriage as between a man and a woman, has died at 88, according to her lawyer.
Windsor’s death was first reported by The New York Times.
As the lead plaintiff in the legal challenge to the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, Windsor was a hero to supporters of LGBT rights, who credited the SCOTUS ruling in her case as being the first step to an eventual ruling two years later that cleared the way for same-sex marriage nationwide.
Anthony Romero, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, said that with Windsor’s death, “we lost one of this country’s great civil rights pioneers.”
“The wheels of progress turn forward because of people like Edie, who are willing to stand up in the face of injustice,” Romero said in a statement. “One simply cannot write the history of the gay rights movement without reserving immense credit and gratitude for Edie Windsor.”
Former President Bill Clinton, who had signed DOMA into law, also tweeted about Windsor’s death.
“In standing up for herself, Edie also stood up for millions of Americans and their rights. May she rest in peace,” Clinton tweeted.
Windsor, who was from New York, often said that she fought her battle in memory of her wife Thea Clara Spyer, who died in 2009. Windsor and Spyer married in 2007 after some 40 years together as a couple.
GLAAD, an LGBT media monitoring organization, remembered Windsor on Twitter, saying: “Edie Windsor was a hero and her contributions to the fight for equality and acceptance will be remembered forever.”