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Baltimore man wins gravesite battle


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Baltimore man wins gravesite battle

Parents wanted gay son?s body moved to family plot

JOSHUA LYNSEN, Washington Blade

A gay Baltimore man has won a courtroom battle to keep his late partner buried in the Tennessee grave the two men chose.

?This is awesome,? Olive said. ?It may not be over if they appeal, but I feel so good.?

Baltimore City Orphans? Court Judge Karen Friedman ruled against Lowell and Carolyn Groff, who sought to overturn their son?s will and move his body to a family cemetery.

Groff?s parents argued in court Sept. 25 and 26 that their 26-year-old son didn?t know what he was doing when he completed his will and burial instructions shortly before his death on Nov. 23, 2004.

Groff, who was HIV-positive, died from a staph infection that spread throughout his body.

Olive said Groff was estranged from his parents at the time of his death, and completed a will and burial instructions in anticipation of the legal battle.

Friedman?s ruling, Olive said, affirmed that ?for all practical purposes, we were a married couple, and that everything seemed normal for a dying man to be doing for a married couple.?

Olive said he was thrilled Friedman acknowledged that he and Groff ?considered ourselves spouses, and in her eyes we were.?

Olive, who married Groff according to local Quaker tradition in 2003, said his battle illuminates the need for equal marriage rights for gay couples.

?I won, but I wouldn?t have had to go through this at all if the state had some sort of provision that allowed my partner and I to have legalized our relationship in some sense,? he said. ?This is kind of bittersweet because I had to go through a lot of shit to get this.?

? 2006 | A Window Media LLC Publication

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