Hear the name Edith Windsor this week and it's hard to think about anything but Windsor v. United States getting its day in the Supreme Court Wednesday, March 27, as Windsor challenges the Defense of Marriage Act's federal definition of marriage – a definition that forced her to pay more than $360,000 in taxes on her deceased wife Thea Spyer's estate. But there is more to life than court cases.
This week, Heritage of Pride, organizers of the 44th annual NYC LGBT Pride March, announced that Windsor will serve as one of three grand marshals for the Sunday, June 30, march down Manhattan's 5th Avenue to Greenwich Village, and along Christopher Street. Joining Windsor will be Harry Belafonte, who for decades has entertained as a singer and actor, and has advocated as a leader for social justice. The D.C. community may take special pride, however, in the third grand marshal named March 25, Earl Fowlkes, a local resident and president of the Center for Black Equity, launched in October as a greatly expanded outgrowth of the International Federation of Black Prides, also helmed by Fowlkes.
''LGBT rights are expanding across the country and these individuals embody the soul of a movement far from over,'' said Chris Frederick, NYC Pride managing director, in the announcement naming the 2013 grand marshals. ''They are tirelessly fighting for all of us. They are the great waves in a sea of hope: Edith's never-ending battle for marriage equality, Harry's unending fight for human rights, Earl's focused leadership and selfless spirit.''
The announcement also quoted Mike Dunlap, director of the march.
''This year's Grand Marshals have enriched the LGBT community through their dedication, accomplishments and commitment to the LGBT civil rights movement,'' Dunlap said. ''By recognizing Edith Windsor's historic court case, Harry Belafonte's trailblazing activism and Earl Fowlkes' outstanding LGBT leadership, we hope to inspire further action in attaining worldwide equality.''
Earl Fowlkes was not immediately available for comment.