Judge declares Utah women, 1 dead, to be legally married

In this Aug. 21, 2018 photo, Bonnie Foerster, 74, of South Salt Lake, Utah, finally gets her wish of marrying her common law partner of 50 years, Beverly Grossaint, even though Grossaint died in May at age 82. | Photo by Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via Associated Press, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A 74-year-old woman cried tears of joy when a Utah state judge took the rare step of declaring her and her longtime lesbian partner legally married just months after her wife died.

Photographs are displayed of Bonnie Foerster and her common law partner, Beverly Grossaint, who died in May. South Salt Lake, Utah, Aug. 21, 2018. | Photo by Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via Associated Press, St. George News

Judge Patrick Corum last week declared Bonnie Foerster legally married to Beverly Grossaint, who died in May in Salt Lake City at age 82, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

“I’m numb from happiness. I’m married,” Foerster said through tears outside Corum’s courtroom after the ruling. “I’m a married woman. I’ve waited 50 years.”

Foerster met Grossaint in January 1968 in New York City under unhappy circumstances: Foerster was escaping an abusive husband. When Grossaint first saw her, Foerster had broken ribs and was wearing dark glasses to hide black eyes.

“Two seconds (after we were introduced), she came back and told me to take the damn sunglasses off,” Foerster said. When she did, “(Beverly) said, ‘I can see your soul.’ And I fell in love. I looked into her blue eyes, and I fell in love.”

The two moved in together shortly after that meeting.

Foerster said she and Grossaint, a veteran of the Women’s Army Corps, marched in the first gay pride parade in New York City in 1970.

Bonnie Foerster, pushed by her attorney Roger Hool, is joined by Utah Pride Center Executive Director Rob Moolman as she beams with excitement at the Matheson Courthouse in Salt Lake City, Aug. 21, 2018 | Photo by Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via Associated Press, St. George News

“We had people throw garbage at us,” Foerster told the judge. “We went home, took showers and got clean. Those people still have garbage in their hands.”

The couple moved to Utah in 1979 to be near Grossaint’s ailing mother.

Grossaint was Foerster’s caretaker for much of the past 30 years. She has had 29 back surgeries, survived breast and cervical cancer, and endured macular degeneration that has left her legally blind. Foerster also suffers from osteomyelitis, a rare bone infection, and, in April 2016, had to have both legs amputated above the knee.

Grossaint’s health problems – emphysema and chronic heart failure – meant “I was her caregiver for the last three years,” Foerster said.

The only question Corum didn’t settle in Tuesday’s hearing was the date that Foerster could consider herself and Grossaint married.

The petition, filed by Foerster’s lawyer, Roger Hoole, set a date for June 26, 2015 – the day the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal nationwide. Corum suggested the date could be set at Dec. 20, 2013, the day that gay marriage became legal in Utah.

Corum commented that the effective date could be pushed back to 1968, when Foerster and Grossaint began to live together, but “that makes it (legally) messier than it needs to be.”

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10 Comments

  • 42214 August 27, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    Isn’t this called necrophilia?

  • Larry August 27, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Good for them. About time. Now maybe we can talk about getting the Government completely out of our Personal Relationships altogether. I’m sure that this will open the doors were she will be eligible (and rightly so) to continued support from her late wife’s SS…Just as all other Widows and Widowers should be. Looks like they were married a much longer time than probably 90% of the Government Certified Unions of today.

  • Mean Momma August 27, 2018 at 11:47 pm

    Whatever happened to “until death do us part?”

    • mesaman August 29, 2018 at 5:17 pm

      I wondered that as well, maybe she is into atheism with no future past death. Wonder whom she should will her crocheting basket and vegan recipes to, her children?

  • Ladyk August 28, 2018 at 1:53 am

    This makes no sense to me. There was plenty of time, years even, for them to get married prior to her death. Why did they wait? If it wasn’t important enough for them to do it before why grant it now? I think it sets a difficult legal issue for future people who want to claim they should be married to others who have passed and no longer have a say.

  • NickDanger August 28, 2018 at 6:46 am

    I’m honestly past caring about the whole gay marriage isse – it’s marriage itself that has no meaning in the modern world, so you can tell me that someone married a crocodile now and I’m fine with it. I do, however, see one big problem with this particular “marriage.” That problem is that one of the people in this union didn’t say Yes to it. Maybe Beverly Grossaint didn’t WANT to be married to Bonnie Foerster, and THAT’S why they never got married, even though it’s been legal to do so for many years now.

    • NotSoFast August 28, 2018 at 9:01 am

      NickDanger, there you go again! Using logic to possibly explain why two best friends just wanted to be friends.

    • AnnieMated August 28, 2018 at 1:30 pm

      Otr maybe she just didnt want to be married in hospital bed. Why do you have to be so negative all time? Why not just be happy for her?

    • bikeandfish August 28, 2018 at 1:36 pm

      Don’t you think her partner of many decades knows the answer to that concern better than you?

      Per delay….both individuals deal/dealt with sever medical problems which clearly limit mobility in the years since same sex marriage has been legal. The living partner is blind and had a disease that required the amputation of both legs. The other partner was home bound her last few years from chronic health problems. The judge was able to take these issues into account with his ruling. Its why we have a legal system.

  • Striker4 August 30, 2018 at 10:10 am

    anybody know where I can get a good used lawnmower ?

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