In a landmark Supreme Court ruling, Edie Windsor had 1996’s Defense of Marriage Act dismantled in 13 states and the District of Columbia—a crucial step toward nationwide marriage equality. Windsor spent 40 years living with partner Thea Spyer (and the two were married in Canada). When Spyer passed, Windsor inherited her estate but was denied unlimited spousal exemption. She sued for federal recognition as a spouses, regardless of gender in marriage. Her win helped push the bar toward 2015’s Supreme Court ruling that same-sex marriages are recognized by the federal government. From that time forward, Windsor has been accepted as a gay-rights matriarch.