An elderly woman has been declared legally married – three months after her ‘wife’ died.
Utah Judge Patrick Corum declared 74-year-old Bonnie Foerster legally wed to her “soulmate” and common law partner Beverly Grossaint, who died in May at the age of 82, just a few weeks after the couple celebrated their five-decade anniversary together.
“I’m numb from happiness. I’m married,” Foerster said through tears outside the courtroom after the ruling. “I’m a married woman. I’ve waited 50 years.”
The couple met in New York in 1968, after Foerster left her abusive husband.
“I met her with two black eyes and broken ribs and so on and so forth, had sunglasses on,” she told News4Utah.
“She told me to take the damn sunglasses off and looked into my eyes and said she could see my soul.
“I fell in love. She was my soulmate. When she met me we were both lost and we became Bonnie and Bev … Bev and Bonnie for 50 years.”
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.
“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 Salt Lake Tribune reported that the only question Judge Corum didn’t settle in the 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 US Supreme Court made same-sex marriage legal nationwide.
Judge Corum suggested the date could be set at December 20, 2013, the day gay marriage became legal in Utah.
He said 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”.