Tim (left) and Keith (right) married in July 2009 in Provincetown, MA after 18 years together. Sadly, in September 2012 Keith passed away unexpectedly and what happened to Tim thereafter is outlined below. This story was submitted to GMUSA by Tim and his words are featured here. His experience is yet another stunning and tragic example of why federal marriage equality is so important.
As sad as this story is, it is but one of many that plays out each year across America as married same-sex couples continue to face discrimination and oppression. While the USA continues to allow certain states to ignore the validity of same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, and while the federal goverment continues to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denies legally married gay couples federal marriage rights and benefits, we will continue to learn of these tragedies.
In 2009 life was in a wonderful cadence. We relocated back to the USA from Europe: Keith had completed his MBA and my work with global medical missions were taking shape and making a difference.
So, that summer we married on the beach in the evening with our two labradors. We often said to each other, “the earth was made round so we can not see what is ahead of us.” Little did we know that life was about to take such a tragic turn.
Keith passed away suddenly in September 2012, in upstate NY while living with his parents recovering in the mountains from a recent stay in a rehabilitation center.
For the 20 + years we were together we spent time and money to assure that should something happen to either of us, we would be taken care of, that our families would not be able to challenge our commitment and our wishes: Wills, Health Care Proxies, Power of Attorneys, etc.
Unfortunately, because we were living in PA our marriage was not recognized and Keith’s family ignored his will, changed beneficiaries and took many of our belongings and possessions.
This is the reality of not having national recognition of marriage for all. Had we been a heterosexual married couple, this would never have happened and the courts would have intervened. Instead, I am forced to spend thousands of dollars in legal fees to get back what was mine and Keith’s wishes.
Keith’s family has ignored me after 20 years, therein ignoring our relationship, marriage and my existence.
Read Keith’s obituary here.
** If you have a marriage story that you would like to share, please send it via email to: GayMarriageUSA[at]gmail.com