OGDEN, Utah – A Utah woman is now allowed to marry her late boyfriend, who died more than four years ago.
Janetta Gardiner and Kenneth Vanderwerff are getting married, but the groom will not be attending the ceremony.
That’s because he was cremated in 2010 and buried next to his first wife.
However, he and Gardiner lived together for the last three years of his life before he died of cancer.
Gardiner says they had joined their financial responsibilities and insurance policies but were not married by law.
She was granted a petition of posthumous marriage, but Vanderwerff’s cousins had that petition rescinded.
The case went all the way to the Utah Supreme Court, who declared Vanderwerff and Gardiner man and wife.
“It wasn’t about the money. There was no giant estate there. It was about this lady wanted to be deemed the wife,” said Robert Fuller, Gardiner’s attorney. “The fact that she wanted to be married. Our argument was it’s none of the business of the cousins.”
While Gardiner is ecstatic, Vanderwerff’s relatives say they are disappointed in the decision, saying it could have negative implications for the state’s marriage process.