A human interest piece for everyone

Discussion in 'Gay and Lesbian at Disney' started by RickinNYC, Feb 8, 2006.

  1. RickinNYC

    RickinNYC DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
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  3. Roxanne

    Roxanne Earning My Ears

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    That is so sad. It is just wrong for this to happen in this country.
     
  4. piglet too

    piglet too <font color=blue>I will take a Mudslide please<br>

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    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.
     
  5. In a hurry

    In a hurry DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  6. Mermaid02

    Mermaid02 <font color=blue>BL II - Blue Team<br><font color=

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    How can those "cousins" even look in the mirror?? Disgusting.
     
  7. RadioFanatic

    RadioFanatic Mouseketeer<br><font color=6d6b70>SO not a jewelry

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    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.
     
  8. Miss Jasmine

    Miss Jasmine Time for something new!<BR><font color=limegreen><

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    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:
     
  9. MsDisney23

    MsDisney23 <font color=blue>Has cabin fever-induced dreams of

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    So Sad. :sad2:
     
  10. Laura

    Laura This space for rent

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    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.
     
  11. mickeyfan2

    mickeyfan2 DIS Veteran

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    Because they don't have a heart. If they had a heart they would not have done this.
     
  12. RickinNYC

    RickinNYC DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  13. luvwinnie

    luvwinnie <font color=green>And how are YOU feeling?<br><fon

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    Where were the cousins when he was ill???

    This is horrible...so so WRONG.
     
  14. rascalmom

    rascalmom <font color=purple>Business trips should include a

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    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.
     
  15. OhMari

    OhMari WDW PreTrip and Trip Moderator Moderator

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    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.
     
  16. Ava83

    Ava83 Mouseketeer<br><font color=red>I must have Diet Co

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    I read this in People, it made me mad then, still gets me upset, so not right.
     
  17. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs <font color=blue>and my cat, too<br><font color=re

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    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:
     
  18. sweet angel

    sweet angel DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  19. pedro2112

    pedro2112 DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  20. nordkin

    nordkin DIS Veteran

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    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.
     
  21. SunFloridaDisney

    SunFloridaDisney 3 of my favorite things<br><font color=red>I'll pr

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    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.
     

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