Edith Windsor, the 83-year-old lesbian at the center of a gay marriage case headed to the Supreme Court, believes her late wife Thea Spyer would have been proud that her case could set a new precedent for gay couples.

On Friday, the Supreme Court announced it would hear two cases related to marriage equality: a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and another challenging Proposition 8, California's 2008 voter-approved constitutional amendment banning gay nuptials.

Windsor filed her lawsuit after she was asked to pay more than $360,000 in estate taxes following the death of Spyer, because DOMA forbids the federal government from recognizing their 2007 marriage. The women shared their lives together for 44 years.

“When Thea and I met nearly 50 years ago, we never could have dreamed that the story of our life together would be before the Supreme Court as an example of why gay married couples should be treated equally, and not like second-class citizens,” Windsor said in a statement.

“While Thea is no longer alive, I know how proud she would have been to see this day. The truth is I never expected any less from my country.”