Edie Windsor, DOMA Defeater, Is Runner-Up for TIME’s Person of the Year

Edie Windsor, the 84-year-old whose lawsuit brought down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, thus gaining federal recognition for married same-sex couples across the country, was a runner-up for TIME magazine’s Person of the Year. She lost out in the end to Pope Francis, coming in third behind Edward Snowdon. This is nevertheless a good time to acknowledge her many ongoing accomplishments and take a peek at her new website.

windsor_edie

Photo credit: Andy Ryan. Used with permission.

Windsor filed her landmark suit after her spouse of 44 years, Thea Spyer, died of multiple sclerosis in 2009. The couple had married in Canada in 2007, but Windsor was slapped with $350,000 in federal estate taxes that a legally recognized spouse would not have had to pay. Her case wound its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided in her favor this past June.

TIME has a long profile of her on its site —  but you should also check out Windsor’s own brand-new website, with a ton of information about the couple, the lawsuit, and Windsor’s current causes. There’s a wonderful video of her life set to the tune of Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.” (I love the moment at about 2:27 where she’s wearing a “Nobody Knows I’m a Lesbian” t-shirt.)

Windsor is not a mother in the sense that I usually mean around here (she and Spyer did not have children), but TIME calls her “the matriarch of the gay-rights movement.” (I’d argue she holds the title with Phyllis Lyon, who along with her now-deceased spouse Del Martin, founded the lesbian-rights group Daughters of Bilitis in 1955 and fought for marriage in California in recent years.) Windsor is also a geek — in the most positive sense of the word — having worked with mainframe computers at IBM for two decades, been honored by the National Computing Conference as a Pioneer in Operating systems, and founded the software development company PC Classics Inc. Her website tells us she also “received the first IBM PC delivered in New York City, and became active in founding and organizing the two most important user groups.”

Here’s to a woman whose significance is uncontested, no matter the formal honors she may receive.