View Full Version : A human interest piece for everyone

02-08-2006, 02:24 PM
Partner's death ends happy life on ranch
2 decades together mean nothing in Oklahoma law
By Jessie Torrisi
Columbia News Service
December 31, 2005

On the face of it, Sam Beaumont, 61, with his cowboy hat, deep-throated chuckle and Northwestern drawl, is not so different from the ranch hands in Ang Lee's critically acclaimed film "Brokeback Mountain," which opened in Indianapolis on Wednesday.
More "Romeo & Juliet" than "Rent," "Brokeback Mountain" challenges modern perceptions of what it means to be gay in rural America.
"Listen," the character Twist says to del Mar as part of a dream that goes unrealized. "I'm thinking, tell you what, if you and me had a little ranch together -- little cow and calf operation, your horses -- it'd be some sweet life."
That pretty much describes the life Beaumont had. He settled down with Earl Meadows and tended 50 head of cattle for a quarter-century on an Oklahoma ranch. "I was raised to be independent. I didn't really care what other people thought," Beaumont said.
In 1977, Beaumont was divorced and raising three sons after a dozen years in the Air Force when Meadows walked up to him near the Arkansas River.
"It was a pretty day -- January 15th, 65 degrees," Beaumont said. "He came up, we got to talkin' till 2 in the morning. I don't even remember what we said." But "I knew it was something special."
Beaumont moved to be with Meadows in his partner's hometown of Bristow, Okla., a place of 4,300 people. Together, they bought a ranch and raised Beaumont's three sons. The mortgage and most of the couple's possessions were put in Meadows' name.
"I had two dads"

During the day, Meadows worked as a comptroller for Black & Decker. He'd drop the boys at school on his way to work. At home, Beaumont took care of the ranch, feeding and tagging cattle, cooking and cleaning, and once built a barn.
"As far as I was concerned, I had two dads," said one of Beaumont's sons, now 33, who requested anonymity. He was 2 years old when Meadows joined the family.
"Dad helped with schoolwork and all the stuff around the house, taught me to ride horses and milk cows. Earl used to take me to the company picnics and Christmas parties. He bought me my first car."
Most of their friends, Beaumont said, were straight couples, women who worked at Black & Decker, "teachers and doctors and lawyers," and childhood friends of Meadows who often came to dinner at the ranch.
"People treated them fine," said Eunice Lawson, who runs a grocery store in Bristow.
But in 1999, Meadows had a stroke and Beaumont took care of him for a year until he died at age 56.
That's where the fantasy of a life together on the range collides with reality. After a quarter-century on the ranch he shared with his partner, Beaumont lost it all on a legal technicality in a state that doesn't recognize domestic partnerships.
Meadows' will, which left everything to Beaumont, was fought in court by a cousin of the deceased and was declared invalid by the Oklahoma Court of Appeals in 2003 because it was short one witness signature.
Unequal under the law

A judge ruled the rancher had to put the property, which was appraised at $100,000, on the market. The animals were sold. Beaumont had to move.
Because Meadows had no biological children or surviving parents, his estate was divided up among his heirs. When the ranch sells, the proceeds are to be divided among dozens of Meadows' cousins.
"They took the estate away from me," said Beaumont, who said he put about $200,000 of his own money into the ranch. "Everything that had Earl's name on it, they took. They took it all and didn't bat an eye."
Every state has common-law marriage rules that protect heterosexual couples. If someone dies without a will, or with a faulty one, his or her live-in partner is treated as the rightful inheritor.
But only seven states currently give gay couples protections -- such as inheritance rights and health benefits -- through marriage, civil unions and domestic partnerships. What's more, Oklahoma last year amended its state constitution to ensure that neither marriage nor any similar arrangement is extended to same-sex couples.
Today, there are roughly 90,000 gay couples living in small-town America, according to the 2000 U.S. Census, and more than 5,700 in Oklahoma.
Last year, Beaumont moved to nearby Wewoka, Okla., to a one-bedroom place with 350 acres for his horses, white Pyrenees and Great Dane to roam. He said he was continuing to fight the cousins, who are suing for back rent for the years he lived on the ranch.

02-08-2006, 02:28 PM
That is so sad. It is just wrong for this to happen in this country.

piglet too
02-08-2006, 02:28 PM
So sad that this was allowed to happen. Even sadder that this relative did this to their supposed loved one.

Not a gay couple, but my friend recently lost her partner of 9 years. His family took everything from her because it was in his name. She would not fight it, because the pain of his death is still too real (this all happened starting the day of his funeral :sad2: ) and she loves him so much that she does not want to fight his family.

In a hurry
02-08-2006, 02:28 PM
Incredible. When my uncle died, he had a good will, but his partner (15 years at least) was not allowed to consent to cremation even with the legal documents. It took a blood relative.

02-08-2006, 02:31 PM
How can those "cousins" even look in the mirror?? Disgusting.

02-08-2006, 02:33 PM
that just breaks my heart. a good lesson to learn - always go over and beyond the requirements for a legal documents so "technicalities" such as this don't ruin a person's life.

Miss Jasmine
02-08-2006, 02:34 PM
Not every state has common law provisions, Florida doesn't. However, I find what the cousins are doing shameful and disgusting. And then to sue over past rent??!!??! :sad2:

02-08-2006, 02:36 PM
So Sad. :sad2:

02-08-2006, 02:36 PM
Ugh. I really just have no words for that kind of "relative", the kind who'd ignore the deceased's wishes just because he was gay. Those cousins have no right to any piece of that ranch.

02-08-2006, 02:41 PM
How can those "cousins" even look in the mirror?? Disgusting.
Because they don't have a heart. If they had a heart they would not have done this.

02-08-2006, 02:46 PM
Sorry gang. I meant to post this on the G/L board but had two different windows open and put it on the CB. It has since been moved to the correct area.

02-08-2006, 02:46 PM
Where were the cousins when he was ill???

This is horrible...so so WRONG.

02-08-2006, 02:49 PM
What a sad story. I am so sorry to hear that this happened in my state. The law that was passed last year is just wrong. Why does the nature of the relationship have to matter - these men were a committed couple & obviously had tried to make provisions. So sad that a technicality has allowed the "cousins" to prevail.

02-08-2006, 02:55 PM
Sorry gang. I meant to post this on the G/L board but had two different windows open and put it on the CB. It has since been moved to the correct area.

So sad. You can double post anytime-I looked for you a few times on this board, but I usually just skim the CB Board and hit the codes board and have to leave.

02-08-2006, 03:05 PM
I read this in People, it made me mad then, still gets me upset, so not right.

02-08-2006, 03:33 PM
I'm disgusted, sickened, and heartbroken all at the same. How can being a loving, caretaking and committed partner and father (biological or not) mean nothing? How can a law which is based upon discrimination be passed and applied? :guilty:

I sincerely hope Mr. Beaumont finds strength and peace and justice.

OT: Hey Rick! :love2:

sweet angel
02-08-2006, 04:36 PM
That sickens me. It's amazing what depths people will stoop to in order to get their hands on a bit of money. I'm not an especially religious person, but I do hope that those people are judged on their actions.

02-09-2006, 01:25 AM
How can a law which is based upon discrimination be passed and applied?

It's not just State Governments either. Social Conservatives in Congress and our President proposed an amendment to the Constitution, which if enacted, would make it likely that not ony gay marriage be illegal, but there is a good chance that Civil Unions would be outlawed as well.

02-09-2006, 10:57 AM
I too am sickened by this. Death often times brings out the worst in people and obviously these cousins are just out for the money. For those of us in this situation it is a lesson to double check all legal documents often as laws do change from time to time.

02-09-2006, 01:41 PM
That is just WRONG.

And so sad.

More reason to keep trying to make changes in our laws to make things right for all.

More reason to keep trying to spread love not hate.

02-09-2006, 03:31 PM
I agree with all of the posts here. I heard about this on the Derek and Romaine show on Sirius OutQ. (gay/lesbian station on Sirius satelite radio) And as Derek said, those people have a nice spot in a very hot place just waiting for their arrival...It's amazing to me also that this is the kind of legislation the radical religious "right" deem necessary and appropriate. The so-called "Christians" somehow think that they are doing God's will by having the rights of others taken away...
Sorry, that's another post.

But we can use this as en example of how we need to educate people about our lives and our relationships, and show them how our relationships are just as commited and loving as any heterosexual relationship. Maybe they will not be so quick to judge us. I believe that fear, hate and discrimination come from just not knowing. Not knowing us, and not knowing that we are not the deviant perverts that we're made out to be. Education is the key to erase hate. I've seen it work.

02-09-2006, 08:59 PM
This article hurts my heart. :sad1: Regarding the cousins, I agree Mermaid02. How can they look at themselves in the mirror?

02-10-2006, 10:57 PM
But we can use this as en example of how we need to educate people about our lives and our relationships, and show them how our relationships are just as commited and loving as any heterosexual relationship. Maybe they will not be so quick to judge us. I believe that fear, hate and discrimination come from just not knowing. Not knowing us, and not knowing that we are not the deviant perverts that we're made out to be. Education is the key to erase hate. I've seen it work.

We also need to take this time to educate ourselves that we need to protect our SO's. Take the time and effort to make sure all the paper work is in order, that all the "I's" are dotted and "T's" crossed so that this can't happen to you or your "other half".

Unfortunately stuff like this also happens in the Hetro world. I had a co-worker who put his house, etc in his children's name after his first wife, and never bothered to change things once he married again. He passed away and the loving children decided to charge their stepmother rent to stay in the house that had also become her home.

Bottom line, it's not a fun thing to think of our own mortality, but only we can make sure that our loved ones are taken care of once we are gone.

02-18-2006, 10:56 AM
There is a very good article in the current issue of Money magazine that deals with this very issue. It's about two women and their daughter, and tells them what they should be doing, legally and financially, to protect themselves.

I can't find it online, but the title of the article is All in the Family.

dis ms.
02-20-2006, 05:54 PM
:wave: This is my first time posting on the G & L board. Congratulations, BTW! :sunny:

I read the People article about this man and I was just sickened by the injustice he has suffered. Now to find out his partner's cousins are suing for back rent?!! How can they possibly live with themselves? They obviously have no regard for their deceased cousin's wishes (they had to know how much he loved this man)!

After reading a story like this, I have a question. There is a thread on the CB about a radio station contest in which two strangers are going to get married--they won't meet until they are getting married.

Here's the thread: http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=1033352&highlight=BIL+groom+wedding+vote

My question is this: Does it upset you that you can't legally marry the person you love, but that two complete strangers can get married--all in the name of entertainment? :rolleyes: I think it's ridiculous, especially when so many people against same-sex marriage use the whole "sanctity of marriage" argument. If two complete strangers getting married for a radio promotion isn't an affront to the sanctity of marriage, I don't know what is!

Sorry for the long post. I'm stepping off my soapbox now, but I would love to hear your opinions on this.

Mister Disney
02-21-2006, 07:33 AM
I'm thoroughly disgusted at those cousins....its that type of behavior that keeps me in the somewhat activist mode I've been in for numerous years. As we grow older....I watch as life changes for some, but not others. I happen to be lucky to live in CT, where G&L people have some sort of rights, I can't imagine the pain of living in the "heartland" (or is it the "wasteland", after read this story) of America and having to deal with this sort of thing. :confused3 :confused3

02-21-2006, 11:19 AM
Wow... you know, just this morning I was thinking about how I think I might want to quit my job to go to law school, study Public Interest Law and go to work for (or at least volunteer for) organizations like the ACLU. The more I read articles like this, the more determined I become to go that route. Human rights shouldn't be trampled on, and those who think this isn't a matter of human rights are just wrong.

eryn the pooh
02-21-2006, 09:25 PM
Reading this gives me one more reason to be glad I live in Canada. My Nana and Papa divorced in 1970 and shes been with her partner since 1977. Her partner just past away on Thursday. She was a member of our family. I grew up with her around and it was normal for me. They didnt officially get married but they still dont have to worry about all the crap that this poor man had to. It is so wrong, I just feel sick that there is people in the world like his cousins. I dont know all the legal stuff that my Nana and her partner went through but they don't have to worry about anybody NOT recognizing them as a couple.

02-22-2006, 02:05 PM
Oh, I am just SO proud of my state, NOT! :eek:

The saddest experiences that I have had since I moved to Oklahoma in 1991 have been about friends that have come out to me. It is so heartbreaking to hear their stories of discrimination!

Aack! :rolleyes:

Thanks for sharing, I didn't know..... :guilty:

02-27-2006, 10:25 PM
This is disgusting and why I always tell my best friend that she needs to protect herself. Her partner has a good paying job, the life insurance, 401k and the house and car all under her name. And she also has 12 siblings. My best friend is self-employed and doesn't make much but does EVERYTHING with respect to paying the bills, cleaning, cooking, etc. God forbid anything happen to her partner and knowing those 12 siblings my best friend will lose everything. She thinks with a good lawyer she would win but it totally scares me what can happen to her!