A woman’s partner passed away long before the 2012 marriage equality recognition in Washington.
They were denied Social Security survivor benefits after her partner of 27 years died. But later she won her federal court case.
In a statement about her court victory, Helen Thornton said, “I’m gratified that the judge understood that, even though we were barred from marriage, our love and commitment was no different than that between heterosexual couples who had the freedom to marry.”
Thornton and Marge Brown of Washington state spent 27 years together before Brown got ovarian cancer and passed away in 2006.
They lived their life as a couple, invested in a house and raised a kid together. Additionally, Thornton helped put Brown through graduate school by working at a grocery store. After her partner fell ill, Thornton spent three years taking care of her.
The judge in the Washington case recommended a nationwide order requiring the SSA to reconsider claims for survivor benefits. Moreover, they should stop denying survivor benefits to same-sex partners as they just couldn’t become married legally in the previous years.