National Center for Lesbian Rights

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designated beneficiaries

Nancy C. v. Alameda County Fire Department

Nancy C. is an emergency dispatcher with the Alameda County Fire Department. Nancy and her wife, a Canadian citizen, were married in Canada in October 2009. When Nancy learned about the passage of SB 54, the California law requiring the state government to grant all the rights and benefits of marriage to same-sex couples who get married in other states or countries after November 5, 2008, she asked her employer to add her wife as a beneficiary on her health and retirement plans. The human...

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Cozen O’Connor, P.C. v. Tobits

Jennifer Tobits and Sarah Ellyn Farley married in Toronto in 2006. Two weeks after their wedding, Ellyn was diagnosed with cancer. The Chicago couple fought the disease together for their entire marriage, until Ellyn passed away in September 2010. Because Ellyn’s parents had never accepted her marriage to Jennifer, they feared that Ellyn’s parents would make legal claims to their property and generally attack Jennifer’s status as Ellyn’s spouse. Shortly after...

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