Edith Windsor, The Unlikely Activist

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Yep, I’m crying.

Person of the Year

Correction appended, Dec. 16, 2013

Edith Windsor’s living room is filled with mementos of a battle she never expected to wage. Growing up gay in America, Windsor, now 84, mostly kept a low profile with her sexuality beyond a vibrant circle of friends. But when her spouse Thea Spyer died in 2009, it triggered a series of events that prompted Windsor to fight for her rights in the U.S. Supreme Court—a fight that concluded with a landmark victory for gay marriage this year.

And so the modest Greenwich Village apartment that Windsor and Spyer shared for more than 30 years now houses trophies alongside relics of the rich life they led together. Near a framed copy of the couple’s New York Times wedding announcement, there’s a photograph of ­Michelle Obama stooping to give Windsor a tight congratulatory hug. From a pile of thank-you letters she has received, Windsor pulls out…

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