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Jamie McGonnigal

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He Died Waiting to Get Married

Posted: 12/09/11 02:22 AM ET

In March Derence Kernek and Ed Watson recorded a video requesting that California's 9th Circuit Court allow Judge Vaughn Walker's decision to overturn Prop 8 to stand. This request was due to Watson having recently been diagnosed with a rapid-onset Alzheimer's. The couple wanted to be married while Watson still had memories of their 40 years together.

On Aug. 4, 2010, Judge Walker had ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional, as it denied gays and lesbians due process and equal protection under the law. As Walker had not disclosed that he was gay and in a relationship at the time, Prop 8 supporters filed a motion to dismiss his decision, as he would stand to benefit from it. Of course, their argument fails to recognize that according to their anti-gay claims, any heterosexual judge would stand to benefit from a decision in their favor.

That argument failed in a lower court, and arguments before the 9th Circuit were being heard on Dec. 8 in regard to the Prop 8 proponents' appeal of that decision.

Close to midnight, on the eve of these arguments, Watson passed away due to complications from his quickly advancing Alzheimer's and diabetes. He and Kernek were never married.

On top of that, because of the inequality in the law, and the couple's inability to marry, Watson had been denied coverage under Kernek's retirement plan (as any heterosexual couple would be entitled to). This caused incredible financial hardships.

Kernek could not be reached for comment, as their phone had been disconnected.

Please watch the video that this couple put together urging for marriage equality in California