Entries in Marriage (23)


Couple Born on Same Day, Married 75 Years, Die One Day Apart

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(LONG BEACH, Calif.) -- A California couple born on the same day and married for 75 years, died only one day apart.

According to the Long Beach Press-Telegram, Helen and Les Brown died on July 16 and 17 respectively, both were 94.

Zach Henderson, owner of the Ma N’Pa Grocery in Long Beach, Calif., said he saw the couple almost daily and called their relationship “a wonderful blessing.”

“About a year ago, [Helen] had her hand on his face and they were cheek to cheek,” Henderson said. “She said, ‘Isn’t he the most handsome man you’ve ever seen?’ That’s exactly how they were. They were full of love and passion.”

According to the Press-Telegram, the couple also shared the same birthday of Dec. 31, 1918, and eloped in 1937 after they met in high school.

Henderson said that even though the couple was in their 90s they remained active in their community and insisted a local band set up in their driveway during a residential block party.

“They were fun-loving and beautiful people,” Henderson said.

The couple was Jehovah’s Witnesses and their oldest son, Les Brown Jr., told the Press-Telegram their faith strengthened their marriage.

“It was a real love match, wasn’t it,” said Les Brown Jr. “They were together every day for 75 years.”

When they died, the Press-Telegram reported that Les Brown was suffering from Parkinson’s disease and Helen Brown had stomach cancer. However, Henderson said he never realized that Helen Brown was sick, even though he dropped off groceries to their home almost on daily basis.

“She was completely cognitive,” Henderson said, describing how he found Helen Brown a few days before she died. “It seems like she was waiting for Les to be comfortable and they were going to move on to something else with each other.”

A public service was held for the couple on Saturday afternoon in Long Beach, Calif.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Mom of Missing 'Baby Kate' to Wed Convicted Father

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LUDINGTON, Mich.) -- The mother of a baby who disappeared last year has decided to marry the main suspect in the baby's disappearance.

The 4-month-old infant known as Baby Kate disappeared last year from her Ludington, Mich., home. At the time, the baby's mother, Ariel Courtland, accused her boyfriend and the baby's father of kidnapping the child and "leaving her somewhere."

Sean Philips, the baby's father, was tried and convicted on charges of unlawfully imprisoning Baby Kate, though he has not been charged with her kidnapping or death.

During the trial, Courtland admitted that she and Philips had discussed giving the baby up for adoption, and that Philips was still intent on that plan when the baby disappeared. She said she ultimately decided to keep Baby Kate.

Now, Courtland has told Michigan news station WOOD that she plans to wed Philips in order to get more information about where her daughter is. She is currently banned from visiting Philips in prison because she is a victim in the case, but hopes that the marriage will come with permission to see him, she told WOOD.

"I need to have answers," Courtland told WOOD Tuesday. "I've taken all the steps to try to avoid this."

Courtland applied for a marriage license in Ionia County, according to the report. The clerk's office would not confirm this information, but said Courtland had not used her marriage license yet.

Courtland said she did not wish to comment when reached by ABC News Wednesday.

"The prison told us that we were never allowed to see each other or talk," she said in the report. "We weren't able to have any contact whatsoever unless we were immediate family."

Philips had previously proposed marriage to Courtland, but the two were never married, she said.

"A marriage license is a paper... It's not saying that I'm going to spend the rest of my life with him," she said. "It's saying that I want to marry him for a... month or however long it takes for me to sit down with him and say, 'Hey, what the f--- happened?' That's all it's meant to be. That's it."

Police have indicated that they believe that Philips killed Baby Kate and knows the location of her body.

If he were charged and tried after marrying Courtland, she would be exempt from testifying, as spouses are not required to testify against one another in court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gay Man Told to Marry Woman or Son Would Lose Inheritance

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The gay son of a deceased New York City businessman is fighting a stipulation in his late father's will that required him to marry the mother of his child or risk losing the child's inheritance.

Robert Mandelbaum, who is a Manhattan Criminal Court judge, said in court documents that his father, Frank Mandelbaum, knew he was gay and included his male partner in family activities. The elder Mandelbaum died in 2007 at the age of 73.

Mandelbaum, who amassed a fortune after founding the ID-verification firm Intellicheck, died before his grandson, Cooper, now 16 months, was born.

Cooper's fathers, Robert Mandelbaum and Jonathan O'Donnell, married shortly after his birth via surrogate in 2011. It's unclear which of the men is Cooper's biological father.

The late businessman's will left behind a $180,000 trust for his grandchildren, including those who would be born after his death. The heirs will receive installments from ages 25 to 30, although the amounts will be contingent on the performance of the investment.

But Cooper will not be eligible for his inheritance because he has two dads, according to the terms of the will.

The words "child," "grandchild" and "descendant" include natural and adopted children and children born out of wedlock, according to the will, which was filed in Manhattan Surrogate's Court.

"However, such words shall specifically not include an adopted child of Robert, if adopted while Robert is a single person, or a biological child of Robert, if Robert shall not be married to the child's mother within six months of the child's birth," the will states.

Robert Mandelbaum is challenging the will on the basis that it would require him to enter into a "sham marriage" which would violate New York marriage-equality law.

Attorney Anne Bederka wrote that the stipulation Robert Mandelbaum marry a woman was "tantamount to expecting him either to live in celibacy, or to engage in extramarital activity with another man, and is therefore contrary to public policy."

"There is no doubt that what [Frank Mandelbaum] has sought to do is induce Robert to marry a woman," Bederka wrote.

A settlement has not yet been approved by the Manhattan Surrogate's Court.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Connecticut Family Massacre Survivor William Petit Remarries

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Dr. William Petit, the sole survivor of the deadly home invasion that claimed the lives of his wife and two daughters in 2007, has remarried.

Petit, 55, wed photographer Christine Paluf, 34, on Sunday in West Hartford, Conn. A reception was held in Simsbury.

"It was fun," Hayley Hovhanessian of the Petit Foundation told ABC News. She said there were "a ton" of family and friends celebrating the happy day.

Petit and Paluf got engaged after Christmas in 2011.

Paluf is a professional photographer who specializes in weddings, events and portraits. She also photographs events for the Petit Family Foundation. Photos of William Petit at foundation events are part of Paluf's online portfolio. The pair reportedly met through her photography work for his organization.

Petit's wife, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, 48, and the couple's two daughters, 17-year-old Hayley and 11-year-old Michaela, were killed during a July 2007 home invasion carried out by Steven Hayes and Joshua Komisarjevsky. The mother was raped and strangled while the girls, tied to their beds, died when the house was set ablaze.

William Petit was the only one to survive. Brutally beaten with a baseball bat and left bound in the basement, he managed to escape to a neighbor's house. Petit sat in the front row throughout the separate murder and sentencing trials of Hayes and Komisarjevsky.

Both men were convicted and sentenced to be executed and are currently on Connecticut's death row.

"There is never complete closure when you lose your wife and family, but the first part is over and we think justice has been served," said Petit after the jury delivered its verdict for Komisarjevsky in a Connecticut courtroom on Dec. 9, 2011.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Census: Husband-Wife Households at Record Lows

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The proportion of homes in America with husband-wife couples has now fallen below 50 percent, the lowest since the Census Bureau began tabulating such family data in 1940.

New Census 2010 figures, released Wednesday, reveal that 48 percent of all households include a married husband and wife, compared with 52 percent in 2000. That’s down dramatically from the peak.  In the 1950 Census, 78 percent of all households in America mirrored the Ozzie and Harriet mold, with a husband and wife in the home.

There is wide variation from state to state. Utah has the highest proportion of husband-wife households, at 61 percent. The lowest numbers are in New York and Louisiana, with 44 percent each.

There are more interracial married couples than a decade ago. Their numbers jumped 28 percent since 2000.

With the overall percentage of married couples declining, the percentage of unmarried couples living together is increasing.

It is possible that this also reflects an increase in the average age at which couples first marry. According to a study from the Pew Research Center, the average age for men is 28.7 years, and for women, it’s 26.5. Compare that to 1960, when that age for both men and women was early 20s.  

Unmarried couples make up less than 7 percent of all households, but their numbers still jumped 40 percent from 2000. The largest increase in that group was same-sex partner homes, which skyrocketed 80 percent in the past decade.  They make up less than one percent of all households, but in 2010, nearly 650,000 households identified themselves as same-sex partner homes.

Other types of living arrangements are also on the upswing.  There are more people living alone. Homes with just one person made up nearly 27 percent of households in 2010.  Atlanta and Washington, D.C., are the two cities with most residents living by themselves – about 44 percent in each.  The Census Bureau says that probably reflects young single people looking for job opportunities.

Another growing phenomenon is the number of male homeowners living without a spouse, but with other family members. Half of these are dads with their own children. The others might include an adult son whose parent moves in, or a brother housing another brother. This category of home increased by 19.05 percent, from 4.2 percent of households in 2000 to 5 percent in 2010.

It’s also more common to find multiple generations living together.  In 2010, there were 5 million families where three or more generations lived under the same roof, about a million more than a decade before.

The new Census numbers also reflects the graying of America.  In 2010, a quarter of all households included someone over age 65.  The two states with the highest percentage of elderly households were Florida and Hawaii.  Both, of course, offer nice warm weather for retirees.  In Alaska, on the other hand, only 16 percent of households included someone over age 65 -- the lowest percentage of any state.

The 2010 Census is “continuing trends we’ve seen for quite a while,” according to Rose Kreider, chief of the Fertility and Family Statistics Branch at the U.S. Census Bureau.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Washington Woman Planned to Marry Her Alleged Stalking Victim

Misty Bedwell / Design Pics/Thinkstock(SEATTLE) -- The judge was booked, the rings were chosen, but the romance was missing.

Seattle authorities have charged a woman with one count of felony stalking after she allegedly made plans to marry a man who had a restraining order against her.

Madaline Desmet, 64, met the unidentified man briefly two years ago at church. She professed her undying love for him in more than 50 love letters and allegedly followed him around, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported.

Despite the man’s rebuffing of her advances and getting a restraining order, the single real estate agent allegedly continued to pursue him.

Church officials banned Desmet from their property after she apparently would not leave the man alone, the Seattle Times reported.

Desmet decided in December that the two should tie the knot. She booked a room at a Seattle courthouse and went to Jared the Galleria of Jewelry, where she chose a ring.

The object of Desmet’s affection alerted authorities when the courthouse called him about the wedding. He also received a phone call from the jewelry store asking him to pay for the ring she had selected.

The lovelorn bride was released last week on $50,000 bail and reportedly told police that the man had pursued her online.

Desmet, who has not yet entered a plea, did not respond to a request for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gay Texas Judge Refuses to Perform Marriage Ceremonies

File photo. ( -- Texas Judge Tonya Parker cannot legally marry a woman in her state, so she refuses to perform any marriage ceremonies until there is equality. She finds it "oxymoronic" to perform a ceremony that cannot be performed for her.

Parker, an openly gay judge, told a group at a Stonewall Democrats of Dallas meeting Tuesday that when she turns a couple away, she uses it as an opportunity to teach them a lesson about marriage equality.

"I don't perform marriage ceremonies because we are in a state that does not have marriage equality and until it does, I'm not going to partially apply the law to one group of people that doesn't apply to another group of people," Parker said in a video of the Tuesday discussion. "And it's kind of oxymoronic for me to perform ceremonies that can't be performed for me, so I'm not going to do it."

A spokeswoman for the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct said the commission had no comment.

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Parker is the first LGBT person elected as a judge in Dallas County and she is believed to be the first openly LGBT African-American elected official in the state's history, according to the Dallas Voice.

Parker described examples of discrimination in the courtroom that she has seen and been able to stop.

She once heard a case involving a man who allegedly molested a young boy in which a participant used the terms "homosexual" and "child molester" interchangeably.

"When a man molests a little girl, people don't call him heterosexual," Parker said in the video. "So, when this man molests this little boy, assuming [the] allegations to be true, you are not going to stand in my courtroom and call him a homosexual."

Another example she gave was the Texas Supreme Court's jury instruction that dictates that jurors cannot discuss cases with their husbands or wives.

"Well, I might have modified it a little bit," Parker said to her audience. "And I said, 'Do not discuss this case with your husband, your wife or your partner.'"

She said these are small ways of making her point but she believes it is important to go out of her way to do things that others in the LGBT community might not be able to do because they are not in her position of power.

"I want to help those folks to have dignity, in that moment that they are with me, to know that I see you," she said. "I see you."

Parker did not immediately respond to a request for comment from ABC News. A court clerk said she was in court day.

Parker's goal as a judge is to "make sure laws are applied equally to everyone who comes to court and that we take the opportunity to put issues on people's radar's that might not otherwise be there."

Seven states currently allow gay marriage. Maryland would become next one next week, if the governor signs into law a recently passed bill as promised.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


First Same-Sex Couple Married in California Getting Divorced

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- An interesting sign of the times: the lesbian couple whose legal struggle helped pave the way for gay marriage in California is getting divorced.

Robin Tyler and Diane Olson were the original plaintiffs in the California Supreme Court case (argued by attorney Gloria Allred) that opened the doors to lesbian and gay marriage in the nation’s most populous state. They appeared in an interview with Allred for ABC News.

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In June 2008, Tyler and Olson were the first same-sex couple to wed in Los Angeles County.

During the campaign over Proposition 8 -- the voter-approved initiative that ultimately overturned the court’s decision and banned gay marriage -- Olson and Tyler appeared in campaign ads asking the voters to not “take our marriage away.”

But now their marriage is apparently on the rocks. While they have plenty of company -- in Southern California, 75 percent of all marriages end in divorce -- the timing is kind of awkward. A federal appeals court in California on Tuesday struck down Proposition 8, the controversial ballot measure, passed in 2008 with 52 percent of the vote, that defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Woman Wants to Marry Seattle Building

KOMO News/ABC News(SEATTLE) -- A Seattle community rights activist is going to the extreme to try and save a building in her neighborhood: she’s marrying it.

Babylonia Aivaz has invited the Seattle public to attend what she calls the “gay wedding” to the building on Sunday. The building is an abandoned warehouse that is in the process of being demolished, according to ABC affiliate KOMO. Aivaz hopes to save the space for a community center.

“Yes, I’m in love with a 107 year old building! Yes, ITS A GAY MARRIAGE! How is that possible? Well there must obviously be a deeper story,” Aivaz wrote on her Facebook invitation to the wedding.

In December, Avaiz and 16 others held a protest at the building, circling around the property and linking arms to fight for dedicated community space, according to the report. The warehouse is slated to be demolished and turned into a mixed-use apartment building.

But Aivaz wanted to go further.

“If corporations can have the rights as people, so can buildings,” Aivaz told KOMO. “I’m doing this to show the building how much I love it, how much I love community space and how much I love this neighborhood. And I want to stop it from gentrification.”

When demolition work began on the building this week, days ahead of the planned wedding, Aivaz went to the site of the work and changed into her wedding dress, climbing on equipment to draw attention to the cause.

She said the wedding would go on as planned Sunday.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gay Couple Receives Obama Congratulations on Wedding

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(NEW YORK) -- A gay couple in Brooklyn, N.Y., were surprised to find a letter in their mailbox six months after their wedding congratulating them, but they were more surprised to find it was from the commander-in-chief.

Matt Katz, 32, and Aaron Lafrenz, 36, were married at the Katz family’s Brooklyn home on July 23, 2011, the day before gay marriage became legal in New York state. The following day, the two went to Brooklyn borough hall and were among the first gay couples to legally be married in the state.

This December, Katz and Lafrenz received a letter in their mailbox with the White House seal indented in the paper and the signature of one Barack Obama on the bottom. Obama has been opposed to gay marriage in the past, though he has recently said his views on the topic are “evolving.”

Katz told ABC News Tuesday that a family friend, Arlene Weinstock, had requested the letter on their behalf after hearing that the White House would take requests upon the passage of the New York gay marriage bill. Weinstock, of Long Beach, Calif., assumed that the request had not been fulfilled when the couple hadn’t heard from the White House during the summer, but realized Tuesday that she was the cause of the mysterious presidential salutation.

“I was so super confused,” Katz said, noting that he was not a major political activist and had no strong ties to gay rights groups. “But Aunt Arlene called me up and said, ‘This is my fault!’”

The White House confirmed to ABC News that they sent the letter.

The letter reads, in part, “Your union marks the beginning of a lifelong partnership as you share in the joys of your life together. I wish you the very best as you embark on your journey together and hope your bond grows stronger with each passing year.”

Katz said he was happy to receive the letter, but acknowledged the president is probably looking to shore up the gay vote ahead of the 2012 election.

“I do think he’s trying to (pander), but I don’t blame him,” Katz said. “At this point, this is not necessarily a ploy but he can’t for public office reasons be on one side, so maybe this is his way of winking at the gay public in New York and saying I really need your vote now.”

The White House, when asked about the letter Tuesday, responded that it “regularly sends congratulatory messages from the president to members of the public.”

Richard Socarides, a former adviser to Bill Clinton and current president of Equality Matters, a gay rights group, agreed that it a fairly normal move and did not signal a change in the president’s position on gay marriage rights.

Despite telling ABC News in October that the issue of gay marriage was something he “struggled with,” Obama has never come out in support of gay marriage. He has said he supports “strong civil unions.” Obama also led the repeal of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which banned gays from serving openly in the military.

Katz said that despite the letter’s mysterious arrival, the couple was happy to receive it and will likely frame and display the letter in their home.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio