Ed Watson Dies, Prop 8 Still Hurting His Partner


Readers may remember the story of Ed Watson (pictured left) and his partner Derence Kernek who, earlier this year, joined a campaign to ask the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to lift the stay on Judge Vaughn Walker’s decision overturning Proposition 8. Why? Because Ed was suffering from Alzheimer’s and therefore really couldn’t wait to marry his partner of 40 years. Sadly, it was announced on Thursday that Ed passed away.

Earlier this year Ed wrote a letter asking the 9th Circuit to lift the stay on Judge Walker’s decision so that, while it decided the Proposition 8 issue, same-sex couples could once again marry. This plea was denied.

Yet for Ed and Derence it wasn’t just about the emotional significance of marriage but the rights that marriage confers, something that is now painfully obvious following Ed’s death.

From the LA Times:

“Just wanted to let you know that Ed passed at 22:15 this evening,” Kernek, 80, said in an email to friends and supporters from the couple’s home in Palm Springs.

The couple’s inability to marry deprived Watson of coverage under Kernek’s out-of-state retirement plan, imposing financial hardships.

Kernek could not be reached for comment because, according to Courage Campaign organizer Anthony Ash, their telephone was recently disconnected.

The letter that Ed sent, which you can read here, was also accompanied by the following video which I include in memory of Ed and an issue that was obviously deeply important to him:

You can read more about the latest in the Proposition 8 case here.

Our thoughts are with Derence at this most difficult time.


Related Reading:

California Supreme Court Hears Prop. 8 Standing Issue

Unsealing of Prop 8. Trial Tapes Gets Hearing

Prop. 8 Tapes Case May Itself be Recorded


Image taken from the Courage Campaign project video with no infringement intended.


SeattleAnn S.
Ann S6 years ago

It's quite inexcusable that he couldn't get health coverage for his partner of 40 years when a heterosexual couple would have been able to cover their partners even if they were only married for a few months.

Lin Moy
Lin M6 years ago

It's always hard loosing one you have loved so long.

Annmari Lundin
Annmari L6 years ago

My deep felt condolences to Derence Kernak and a strong support for the struggle both of you endured trying to get legal reckognition for your long relationship.

Christopher C.
Chris C6 years ago

Dear Derence...I'm so sad to hear of Ed's passing. Even sadder that you weren't able to be married before that happened. My heart goes out to You, your friends, family and loved ones. Hopefully this outrageousness will be stopped and that gays and lesbians will be allowed to marry the one they love!

Makes me even cherish my partner of 16 years that much more. We were married in 08 on the day of our 13th Anniversary just before the bigots pulled the plug. As of this moment, we're still legal, but my heart and soul is still sad for those who didn't get that opportunity. Also, until we're legal Federally it won't be complete.

Mary Monell
mary ,monell6 years ago

My heart goes out to Derence with this terrible loss. I grew up thinking that Marriage was the ultimate expression of love and now I'm not sure how this government changed that to something else. One wonders how the US can state that it's the "land of the free" when people are not free to marry someone they love. Even worse is that now many benefits are tied to being a "legal spouse." Ironic to think that many people fled to US to escape persecution to turn right around to persecute someone else. Very sad~

Chad A.
Chad Anderson6 years ago

Life is tough enough without us inventing ways to make it tougher. I cannot imagine what it would be like to live without your partner.

melanie s.

Sad beyond words. Losing a spouse is horrible, having to deal with the practicalities of being denied most benefits and comforts given to other couples while grieving - much much worse.

Carole C.
Carole Chowen6 years ago

Derence, your life of love and commitment with Ed was something few experience. That you were denied the right to marry is against all reason.

Marg Wood
Marg W6 years ago

This is tragic. It was a common law marriage. It's to bad it's not recognized as such in the USA. My heart goes out to him at the lose of his partner in love.

leonie t.
Leonie Trevanion6 years ago

This is sad I hope marriage for gays is passed world wide