You Be the Judge: When the Will Requires the Son to Marry Any Grandson’s “Mother,” Is Marrying a Gay Partner Enough?
A gay man and his longtime partner decide to become parents using a surrogate mother. Shortly after their son is born, the couple gets married. But there’s a catch for this modern family: A will left by the man’s wealthy father decrees that he must marry the mother for the child to collect an inheritance.
That quandary has prompted the man, Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Robert M. Mandelbaum, to contest the will in surrogate’s court.
Mandelbaum has filed a petition on behalf of his now 2-year-old son, Cooper, that argues that a condition that might “induce the beneficiary to enter into a sham marriage of convenience” should be invalid.
The petition makes two further arguments: that Mandelbaum’s partner could be considered the boy’s “mother,” and that excluding the boy from sharing in the family fortune would run counter to public policies protecting same-sex marriages and their offspring.
The petition portrays the father as being accepting of his son’s lifestyle. But the will doesn’t make clear why the father appeared to contradict that when it came to his estate.
To fully understand the issue, you need to follow the link and read the whole thing. The will excludes any
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.”
Mandelbaum’s dad died in 2007. Mandelbaum fathered his son with a surrogate mother a couple of years later. The boy was born in 2010, and Mandelbaum married his gay partner within six months. The birth certificate lists Mandelbaum’s partner as the boy’s “mother” — though one suspects this was done with the contents of the will in mind.
How would you rule on this and why?