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Elderly Crusader for Marriage Equality Dies

Elderly Crusader for Marriage Equality Dies


Gay marriage proponent Ed Watson, who earlier this year urged a federal appeals court to end the enforcement of Proposition 8 so he could marry his partner of 40 years, has died.

Watson, 78, who met his partner, Derence Kernek, at Cal Polytechnic University, succumbed Wednesday to complications from Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and hypertension. The couple lived in Palm Springs, Calif.

In May the couple spoke in a video for the Courage Campaign's Equality on Trial initiative, asking for the right to make their four-decade long union legal before Watson's health deteriorated.

"We want to have that service as soon as we can, and hope the supreme court won't dilly-dally on it because Ed wants to be able to remember the service and remember the commitments," Kerneck said.

The Los Angeles Timesreports that "the couple's inability to marry deprived Watson of coverage under Kernek's out-of-state retirement plan, imposing financial hardships."

Watson's death occurred one day before a court hearing on the same-sex marriage ban.

"It's ironic that he died on the eve of appeals about peripheral issues around a case that should have been settled more than a year ago," said Richard Jacobs, chairman and founder of Courage Campaign.

Read more here.

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