A New York City man has a nice inheritance waiting for his child, so long as he fulfills one iron-clad requirement in his late father’s will; he has to marry the mother of his child. Not such a high hurdle at first glance, but the son is gay and in a committed relationship with another man. The couple was married after the child was born via a surrogate. The son, who is a New York City Criminal Court judge, is claiming his partner is the child’s mother and the child is entitled to his share of the $180,000 bequest. The case is turning into a very complicated legal battle over whether the will’s conditions are so unreasonable that they can be disregarded by the court.
The Manhattan Surrogates Court is still trying to sort the whole thing out. The son has argued that the child has never known any other mother except the partner. He further claims that the will requires him to enter into a “sham marriage” in order to collect the money, and the requirement violates New York State laws that protect marriage equality.
A law guardian appointed to represent the infant’s interests agrees that the will’s marriage requirement is unreasonable. She told the court that in order to fulfill the late father’s conditions, his son would have to either live in celibacy or engage in extramarital activity with another man, and that is contrary to public policy.
The son says his late father was well aware that he was gay, and that he and his partner were frequently included in family events such as dinners and vacations. His father’s wife says her late husband specifically forbade “…a son from a homosexual relationship” from inheriting a portion of the $180,000 he set aside in a trust fund for his grandchildren.
Source: New York Post, “Manhattan businessman’s will directed gay son to marry woman who gave birth to his child,” Kathianne Boniello, Aug. 19, 2012