Fred McQuire and George Martinez were together for 45 years before getting married in California this summer. When Martinez passed away in August, McQuire wasn’t eligible for social security and veterans benefits because their home state of Arizona bans marriage equality.
In order for benefits to be received, a death certificate must be issued listing the surviving spouse — so McQuire sued the state for one. And this week, US District Judge John Sedwick ruled that Arizona must recognize them as married. The decision only applies to this couple, and does not legalize marriage equality in Arizona.
McQuire said in a statement via Lambda Legal, ‘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 honor 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.’
Sending him all the love in the world. Congratulations on a well-deserved victory.