Fifty years after falling in love, lesbian couple Bonnie Foerster and Beverly Grossaint are finally married — posthumously. Grossaint passed away in May at the age of 82 from pneumonia.
They always wanted to get married, but were both suffering health problems in 2015 when marriage equality became legal in the US.
Roger Hoole, a longtime friend of Foerster’s, surprised her when he revealed it might still be possible for the couple to be married.
In 2014, the Utah Supreme Court upheld a case of posthumous marriage. The state has a process in which one partner may petition a judge to recognize a relationship as a marriage, even if an official ceremony never happened.
Under the law, the couple must prove various things, such as living together and presenting themselves as if they were married.
A partner can file for this recognition even if their partner is deceased, as long as it’s within one year of their passing.
Hoole filed a petition for Foerster on 23 July. Last Tuesday (21 August), Judge Patrick Corum declared them legally married.
‘I’m numb with happiness to finally be a married woman,’ Foerster, 74, told the Washington Post.
Born for each other
Foerster and Grossaint first met at a New York City party in 1968. Foerster was married to an abusive husband and at the party, she wore sunglasses to hide the bruises.
Then, Grossaint ‘took off my glasses, looked at me with those deep blue eyes and told me that she could see my soul,’ she recalled. That’s when they fell in love.
Foerster, who is blind and a double amputee, and now resides in Salt Like City, attended the hearing with the assistance of Hoole.
There, she told Judge Corum about her relationship with Grossaint. ‘I was born for her and she was born for me,’ she said.
Friends of the couple wrote affidavits to support their relationship.
Ryan Garrett met the couple in 2006 when he helped them with a plumbing problem.
‘From that first day, I fell in love with them both,’ he wrote. ‘You could tell that they had a lot of affection and respect for each other. They really were inseparable.’