Edith Windsor is the 85-year-old widow who helped change the definition of marriage in America. She challenged the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by then-President Bill Clinton in 1996, which for the first time in American history legally defined marriage between a man and a woman.
Reaching all the way to the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court last June, her case ended in a 5–4 decision that repealed Section 3 of DOMA, declaring it unconstitutional.
The decision meant that, moving forward, the federal government must recognize same-sex marriages that originated in any U.S. state or foreign jurisdiction that legally allows such unions. As of today, 17 states and the District of Columbia recognize gay marriages. Statewide bans on same-sex marriage, or parts of such legislation, have been ruled unconstitutional by federal district courts in a further six states since late 2013, and those cases are currently in litigation.