Florida recognizes gay marriage … on death certificate.

After 47 years of being together and a legal New York wedding in 2011, the state of Florida has recognized the marriage of Arlene Goldberg and Carol Goldwasser, but unfortunately, it comes 7 months after Goldwasser's March 13th death. 

In August of this year, a U.S. District Judge of Tallahassee ruled that Florida's gay marriage ban is unconstitutional, but put a stay on marriages being allowed to occur within the state.  Goldberg and Goldwasser were part of a court case along with 8 other same sex couples heard by Judge Hinkle.  In his ruling, Hinkle ordered Goldwasser's death certificate to be amended to show that she was a married woman at the time of her death. 

Goldberg's primary income is her Social Security payments.  If she qualifies as Goldwasser's widow, she would receive up to $700 more a month.  It is unclear at this time if Social Security will accept the new death certificate or how long the process will take.  Goldberg's possible qualifying for benefits was not the focus of the fight, but the recognition of the marriage.

With the updated death certificate being issued yesterday October 8th, the couple became the second same-sex couple whose marriage is recognized by the state of Florida.  On Aug. 5, Palm Beach County Circuit Judge Diana Lewis ruled that W. Jason Simpson should be personal representative in the estate of his husband, Frank Bangor, who died March 14. The two men, together 37 years, were married Oct. 23, 2013, in Delaware (Miami Herald).

Thank you Arlene and Carol for fighting the fight.  Our thoughts will be with you as progress in the state of Florida is made.

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