Society

Wrongful Death Suit of Alabama Man Killed in Car Crash Turns into Legal Fight Between Mother and Husband Over Gay Marriage

| by Allison Geller

The mother of a gay Alabama man who died in a car accident shortly after marrying a man in Massachusetts is fighting his husband in court for her son’s property rights.

The Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery announced that it will represent Pat Fancher, who is fighting for the damages that stemmed from a wrongful death case over David Fancher’s death. Alabama law dictates that the next-of-kin is to receive the funds from a wrongful death case. As Pat Fancher is the victim’s only surviving parent, she believes she is entitled to the money. But Dr. Paul Hard, David Fancher’s husband of three months at the time of his death, says he is entitled to well over half.

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The Foundation for Moral Law said in a statement that the victim’s mother reached out to them because she found that Hard wanted to claim the damages by overturning Alabama’s constitutional marriage amendment and "promoting homosexual marriage."

"We are humbled to represent Ms. Fancher as her legal counsel in this matter," the Foundation wrote. "We filed a motion to intervene alongside the Attorney General’s office as a party in Hard v. Bentley and we are pleased to announce that motion was granted Monday, March 31 of this week." 

Pat Fancher also released her own statement.

“I am a devout Christian and I am deeply disturbed that the death of my son David is being used by Dr. Paul Hard to advance the cause of same-sex marriage,” she wrote. “I did not agree with all of the decisions that my son made, but I loved him very much and we always had a good relationship. It is wrong for David’s death to be used in this manner.”

Hard, who filed the federal wrongful death suit, described the trials he went through when his husband was struck by a truck while driving to work, simply because his marriage to Fancher was not recognized in Alabama.

Hard was provided no information about his husband’s condition at the hospital since he was not considered “family,” only learning about Fancher’s death half an hour after the fact. He is still trying to get Fancher’s death certificate changed to indicate that he was married.

"If I can spare one other person that kind of indignity and hurt, I would do it," Hard said after filing his lawsuit. "If I can let people know how this law unjustly and cruelly affects people, I will do it. And ultimately I hope that these laws are overturned so that it no longer can give folks permission to treat Americans as second-class citizens."

Sources: AL.com (2), Reuters