Lesbians Win Chance to Change Beneficiaries

     (CN) – The Public Employees Retirement Board in Oregon must reconsider its refusal to let a pair of former public employees remove their former same-sex partners as their beneficiaries.

     Katharine English and Barbara Pinkerton sued the board for the right to change their beneficiaries after their same-sex relationships ended. Under the current law, such beneficiaries could only be removed through death or divorce.
     But because gay couples in Oregon can’t marry, neither option was available. The trial court ruled that the board had the right to deny the benefits.
     Reversing that decision, the state appeals court ruled that the board must reconsider its denial.
     “The availability of the remedy sought by petitioners before (the board) depends on whether the Legislature would have intended that remedy in the event it had contemplated the unconstitutionality of the application of (the law),” Judge Edmonds wrote.

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