It's been a very interesting month in the probate and estate planning field for gay rights. Always a controversial issue, gay and lesbian life partners and their rights often present difficult legal questions for judges. Recently in New York (a state which does not recognize gay marriages), a Surrogate's Court judge ruled that a person claiming spousal rights in an estate of his gay partner who died was entitled to have the same rights as any widower, because the marriage was done in Canada where it was legal.
In other words, even though New York would not have allowed the formation of the gay marriage, it was legal in the jurisdiction where it began, so the New York judge honored it. Here is an article discussing it.
Now a federal court judge in Florida is facing a similar dilemma -- albeit one that won't necessarily be decided based on gay rights. Jancie Langbehn was a life partner of 39-year-old Lisa Marie Pond for 17 years, until Pond fell into a coma and died at the Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. When this happened, Langbehn understandably wanted to be at Pond's side.