Recent Broward Law Blog Features

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

NY Judge Allows Gay Man Spousal Benefits

Here in Florida gay men and women cannot adopt, and legislators have passed laws which bar same-sex marriages. Last year, voters supported the mother of all amendments, which incorporated the legislative prohibition into the a constitutional decree. Florida voted for it with 62% of the population siding with repression instead of righteousness.

I am happy to say what is happening in Florida is not occurring in more enlightened jurisdictions. Though Californians voted to reject same sex marriages, its Attorney General went to court last month to say that such a prohibition flies in the face of equal rights protections and California law. No such challenge has emerged in Florida yet, where, unlike California, same sex marriages were legislatively prohibited.

In an encouraging development which may yet break down legal barriers, a New York probate judge last week held that a man who married his longtime same-sex partner in Canada is entitled to inherit his estate as his spouse.

Manhattan Surrogate Court Judge Kristin Booth Glen ruled that if the marriage was valid in Canada, it is good in New York. We call that principle, comity; respecting the determination of other jurisdictions. It’s a great ruling with potentially enormous precedent, and should be celebrated.

Arthur Leonard teaches at the New York Law School, and he blogs on legal issues, in public no less. Here is his commentary on this significant case at the Leonard Link law blog. The case is: Matter of the Estate of H. Kenneth Ranftle, File No. 4585-2008 (N.Y.L.J., Feb. 3, 2009). It was decided on Jan. 26, 2009.

Gay Americans will continue to fight in the courts to win battles that grant us equal rights, due process, and the customary benefits other American citizens routinely enjoy.
To its credit, Broward County has even started a Gay and Lesbian Lawyer Network that you are invited to participate in. They have been holding monthly meetings, evening cocktail parties, and numerous social presentations. For more information, contact Richard Stoll at
This post is republished from yesterday as your blogger's carelessness inadvertently deleted it while attempting to post another piece this morning. Consequently, an item published this morning about the Supreme Court's ruling today on William Abramson's attempt to win a judicial seat appears now twice, including on yesterday's post. I wish I was so psychic.

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