Judge recognises lesbian couple as spouses after death of one partner

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In a landmark decision, a judge in the US has recognised a same-sex union as a common law marriage.

Sabrina Maurer was involved in a fight to have legal recognition of her relationship with her late partner Kim Underwood.

Bucks County Judge C Theodore Fritsch Jr, said the women qualified retroactively as common-law spouses, following the death of Underwood in 2013.

The couple were together since 2001, and Underwood died a year before Pennsylvania was ordered to conduct same-sex marriages by a federal judge.

The couple had a church union, but were not legally recognised as married during their relationship, but the state was also ordered to recognise marriages conducted earlier.

It is the first time a common law same-sex union has been recognised in the state.