Lambda Legal Requests Accurate Death Certificate in Arizona Case

Courtesy of Lambda Legal, Sept. 11, 2014.

George Martinez, U.S. Air Force and Army veteran and husband to Fred McQuire, passed away Aug. 28 — less than three months after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

On Sept. 3, Lambda Legal filed emergency papers asking the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona to order the state to provide McQuire with an accurate death certificate to for his deceased husband.

“This is what we mean when we say every moment counts for same-sex couples whose relationships are disrespected by the State of Arizona,” said Jennifer C. Pizer, Lambda Legal’s Law & Policy project director. “Fred and George were devoted to each other for 45 years and just days after George’s death Fred now has to fight to have his name listed on his husband’s death certificate — it’s heartbreaking and humiliating.

“George spent his life in service to his community and his country, both in the military and as Deputy Clerk of the Arizona Court of Appeals.

“…it is a disgrace that the state’s lawyers refuse to give even one humane inch, just to refrain from debating the grief and vulnerability George’s death causes for Fred,” Pizer said. “It was an honor to know George and we will do everything we can to make sure his commitment to Fred is respected.”

According to Lamba Legal, if the state does not provide an accurate death certificate to McQuire, the inaccurate certificate will interfere with McQuire’s ability to take care of his late husband’s affairs and to apply for survivor’s benefits generally available to a surviving spouse.

Fred, 69 and his late husband, George 62, of Green Valley, both veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces, met in 1969. George served in the U.S. Air Force in Vietnam, and Fred served in both the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Army and was stationed in Guam. After his military service, George joined the staff of Arizona’s Court of Appeals in Tucson, where he became the court’s first Deputy Clerk. He served in that role for 30 years.

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