Saturday, February 26, 2011

H. Kenneth Ranftle died of lung cancer in 2008. His will stipulated that the bulk of his estate would go to his partner of 25 years, J. Craig Leiby. For two years the estate has been in legal limbo because a brother, Richard, contested the will on the basis that Ranftle and Leiby are NOT allowed to marry in New York and therefore the will was void in recognizing Leiby as the surviving spouse.

The greedy brother argued that since the couple couldn't marry under New York law that he, not Leiby, was the closest surviving relative.

What clearly saved Leiby and allowed his partner's wishes to be done was that the couple had traveled to Canada and married there. And New York state, where the couple lived, respects valid marriages from other jurisdictions.

Of course, if the couple could have married in New York the issue would never have arisen. It would be a rare thing for a brother to challenge his sibling's will leaving his estate to his wife of 25 years.

But, because the couple couldn' t marry in New York the surviving partner had to spend two years in court.

A couple of bits of recent news regarding the battle for marriage equality. First, Illinois took a giant step in the right direction and recently passed civil union options for same-sex couples. Hawaii recently passed civil unions as well. By the way previously Hawaii considered gay marriage equality and it was there that the Mormon cult first tried their stealth anti-gay campaign and won. This isn't good for them.

Maryland is now on the verge of marriage equality. The Maryland state senate passed marriage for gay couples. This was the one house of the legislature where it was in doubt. The House has begun debate with Republicans united in defense of bigotry. One Republican got up to argue by praying. Perhaps he would cast curses and spells as well.

The member of God's Own Party (GOP) who chanted to his imaginary friend said that Republicans would raise millions of dollars to make sure that another effort is done to prevent life-long, loving couples from marrying each other. If you ever wonder why I never intend to vote Republican just watch the bigots in the party at work. The Republican Party is the organized political face of hatred: hatred of gays and immigrants both.