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New York court rules same-sex surviving spouse entitled to inheritence

[JURIST] The Manhattan Surrogate Court [official website] has ruled [text, PDF] that the surviving partner of a same-sex marriage [JURIST archive] performed in Canada is entitled to inherit the estate of a deceased spouse. The decision issued late last week leaves all of H. Kenneth Ranftle's estate to his surviving spouse, J. Craig Leiby. Judge Kristen Booth Glen wrote that she found no legal basis to treat the marriage of the two men differently than heterosexual marriages made in other countries or states. New York has yet to authorize same-sex marriages [New York Law Journal report] within the state, but recognizes same-sex marriages performed in Canada and other states.

In May 2008, New York Governor David Paterson [official profile] issued a mandate [JURIST report], requiring that any and all out-of-state same-sex marriages be recognized as legal within the state of New York. This mandate supported an intermediate appellate court ruling in Martinez v. County of Monroe [opinion, PDF; JURIST report], holding that legal same-sex marriages performed outside the state are entitled to recognition in New York. In September of that year, the New York Supreme Court [official website] dismissed [decision and order; JURIST report] a challenge to Paterson's directive.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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