This morning, while I was slowly waking up and surfing the web (totally uncaffeinated, since the reason I was awake was to wait for our grocery delivery, which contained the all-important milk for my coffee!), I read a news story that woke me up in a hurry by getting my blood boiling. The article is about Sam Beaumont, an Oklahoma rancher who, in 1977, met Earl Meadows, fell in love, and lived for over twenty years with the man and his three children. In 1999, Beaumont had a stroke, and Meadows cared for him until he died a year later. Beaumont’s will left everything to Meadows, but the state of Oklahoma invalidated the will because it had one too few witness signatures — and (as you’d expect) Oklahoma has no common-law rules that would allow for Meadows to remain the rightful inheritor. That left everything (their ranch, all the animals) being auctioned off with the proceeds being split among dozens of Beaumont’s cousins. Oddly, though, this is now a common-enough story that it alone is barely enough to enrage people, and isn’t what made my blood pressure explode — what did that was the fact that all the cousins are now suing Meadows for back rent on the property. (The relationship and controversy are among those profiled in the 2003 documentary Tying the Knot.)

Seriously, for all those out there who feel that gay people are going to hell, my rebuttal is that there’s a very special place in hell for people like those cousins, looking to actually profit from their bigotry and closemindedness (and for certain elected representatives of the fair state of Oklahoma who spout hate on the floor of the U.S. Senate).


Okay, okay. While the laws of Oklahoma and almost every state of the Union do not provide for certain benefits for homosexual couples, you can’t knock the court for invalidating the will. Although archaic in nature, the form requirements of wills generally do a good job of stifling the bickering between relatives (of gay and non-gays coulpes) by insuring that a sufficient number of witnesses attest to the consummation of the will. Although far from perfect, estate planning, IMPLEMENTED WITH AN ATTORNEY’S ASSISTANCE, helps achieve some of the goals that Sam Beaumont had with regard to Mr. Meadows. So, bitch and moan about the lack of common law protections for gay couples because you have grounds to do so, but back off the court that, based on your fact pattern, had to invalidate the will. Or, if an attorney worked up that will, find Mr. Meadows separate counsel for his malpractice claim.

• Posted by: Dan O'Brien on Jan 25, 2006, 12:31 PM

Yeah, I don’t have any beef with the court for invalidating the will, just with the fact that gay Oklahomans need to have a will in order to be given the same rights of inheritance as straight ones.

• Posted by: Jason on Jan 25, 2006, 1:30 PM
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