US widower: I’m ecstatic that Arizona court finally recognised my same-sex marriage

Nick Duffy September 13, 2014
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An Arizona widower has celebrated after a court finally recognised his marriage to his deceased spouse.

A federal judge ruled on Friday that Arizona, despite its ban on same-sex marriage, will have to provide benefits to Fred McQuire, 69, who lost his partner of 45 years, George Martinez, to cancer last month.

The judge issued a quick ruling in Mr McQuire’s favour, though it only applies to the one couple in the case.

Mr McQuire said: “I’m ecstatic and so grateful that my marriage to George is recognized.

“My birthday is next week and this is the best birthday present I could have ever hoped for.

“This is the highest honour that we could offer George and his memory—he would be so proud. Even though this ruling is for George and me, I hope this is going to help other families, too.

“No one else should have to deal with the pain and humiliation of not being able to take care of something as simple and sensitive as a death certificate for their spouse.”

The pair met in 1969, when Mr Martinez served in the US Air Force, and MR McQuire served in the Air Force and Army in Guam.

After leaving the military, Mr Martinez served as a Deputy Clerk for Arizona’s Court of Appeals in Tuscon for over 30 years.

He was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer in June, and the pair married in California in July, after 45 years together. George Martinez passed away last month.

Mr McQuire will now be eligible for survivor benefits – the same as any other widower.

Watch their story via Lambda Legal below:

More: appeal, Arizona, benefits, court, death, fred mcquire, george martinez, lambda legal, Law, US

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