Every year Time Magazine selects an iconic person to be named “Person of the Year.” The person awarded this title is chosen for their influence on society (good or bad) and how their presence has shaped world news.
Time Magazine has announced their 2013 “Person of the Year” top ten finalists, and among them is gay rights activist Edith Windsor. Windsor is most famously known for her legal battle against the United States, where the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional.
Time Magazine’s annual tradition of selecting an individual of the year was started in 1927, when it was known as “Man of the Year.” Charles Lindbergh, who was the first person to successfully fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, was the first person to win this accolade. Now known as “Person of the Year,” the title has been given to internationally known icons (Adolf Hitler won the title in 1938) every year since then.
This year marks a rare occasion as Edith Windsor, if chosen for the title, would be the first known LGBT person to win this award. Also in the running for the 2013 “Person of the Year” are Bashar Assad, President of Syria; Jeff Bezos, Amazon founder; Ted Cruz, Texas senator; Miley Cyrus, singer; Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church; Barack Obama, President of the United States; Hassan Rouhani, President of Iran; Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services; and Edward Snowden, N.S.A. leaker.
In 2007, Windsor married her wife Thea Spyer in Ontario, Canada, where same-sex marriage is legal. When Spyer died in 2009 the couple was living in New York (which did not yet have marriage equality). Upon her death, Spyer left Windsor her entire estate, but when Windsor tried to claim the federal estate tax exemption to which any lawful spouse is due, she was denied this right and charged a large sum in estate taxes because her marriage was not federally recognized in the US.
When Windsor took her legal battle to the United States Supreme Court she made history by helping overturn DOMA; the decision made on June 26, 2013 was monumental, as it declared that limiting the union of marriage to only exist between a man and woman was unconstitutional.