Gay partner can inherit — in New York, anyway

Susan Sommer

Lambda Legal has won another lawsuit related to same-sex marriage, this time in New York. The court ruled that the survivor of a same-sex marriage can inherit as a spouse.

J. Craig Leiby and H. Kenneth Ranftle were together 25 years and married in Canada in 2008. Ranftle died of lung cancer later that year and left his estate to Leiby.

After his death, one of Ranftle’s brothers challenged the will claiming same-sex marriage is not legal in New York. That state does, however, recognize marriages performed elsewhere and that recognition has been upheld in court at least twice.

“The Leiby case marks the first time a New York appeals court has afforded recognition to same-sex spouses for inheritance purposes,” said Lambda Legal senior counsel Susan Sommer.

Sommer said that the ruling protects out-of-state marriages. Families are prevented from pretending there was no relationship and disregarding the wishes of the deceased.

—  David Taffet

Query • 12.24.10

Have you done any special giving project for the holidays?

Ivana Tramp Gomez — “Following a tradition my late uncle started in the 1980s, I try as often as I can to drive around downtown Dallas handing out jackets that I have collected from family and friends to homeless people.”

Cindy Noble Cole — “Gathered coats for the 24 Hour Club, a wonderful rehab/home for alcoholics and drug addicts. Also my daughter’s job sponsored a military family this Christmas — a single father with a 13-year-old son.”

Ty Larson — “Every year, my family goes to all of our friends and collects clothing, toys and food for families in need in Grand Prairie, where my mother works as a kindergarten teacher.”

Jason A Walker  — “The husband of a teacher at the school where I work is dying of lung cancer. They had no Christmas decorations up and she didn’t have time or energy to put them out. I got a group of students together and we went to their home and put their decorations out for them.”

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E-mail it to nash@dallasvoice.com.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 24, 2010.

—  Kevin Thomas