Fort Myers widow Arlene Goldberg has finally received official Florida recognition of her marriage to Carol Goldwasser: Under a judge's order, the state amended Goldwasser's death certificate to read “married.”
“I was really excited. I couldn’t believe they did it,” Goldberg told the Miami Herald two weeks ago, when she first saw the amended death certificate. “Of course, the judge mandated it be done. And it’s done.”
Partners for 47 years, Goldberg and Goldwasser moved from the Bronx to Florida in 1989 and married in New York in October 2011. Goldwasser died March 13.
Goldberg’s primary income is Social Security. Because Florida doesn’t recognize Goldberg’s marriage, she is unable to qualify as Goldwasser’s widow and collect her Social Security payments, which were $700 more each month than Goldberg’s.
It’s unclear whether Social Security will immediately accept Goldwasser’s amended death certificate and change Goldberg’s monthly payment.
“Our attorneys are exploring all possibilities. We are certainly going to continue to fight on Arlene’s behalf to ensure that she gets all the rights, benefits and protections to which she is entitled as a married woman,” said Howard Simon, executive director of the ACLU of Florida. “But for today, we are focusing on the bittersweet and very late recognition of Arlene’s marriage by Florida officials. Unfortunately, it had to be by court order.” Story here.
Photo: Carol Goldwasser and wife Arlene Goldberg of Fort Myers, together for 47 years, at a 2012 Visuality LGBT youth fundraiser. Goldwasser died in March.VIA FACEBOOK