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Partner of over 40 years denied space in family grave

The Local/pvs · 5 Apr 2011, 08:14

Published: 05 Apr 2011 08:14 GMT+02:00

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When his partner died last October, the 75-year-old man expressed a wish for her to be laid to rest in his family grave in Kronokyrkogården on the island of Aspö in southern Sweden.

Despite the fact that the man's wishes for his partner's ashes were supported by several other members of his family, the Blekinge county administrative board denied his request saying that the grave was only for married relatives.

"I think this is madness. If you don't count as close kin after 40 years living together, when do you," said Margareta Svensson, representing the relatives for funeral firm Fonus, to the local Sydöstran daily.

A number of relatives appealed the board's decision but an administrative court has rejected their complaint, finding in support the board.

The court's decision is based on a government decision from 1965 specifically concerning the churchyard in question which stipulates that it is a place of burial for "husband, wife, unmarried sibling or other close relative".

Story continues below…

In order for the category of "other close relative" to be used an application has to be submitted to the country administrative board. The board found no grounds to accept the application and the court has now supported its decision.

Margareta Svensson argued that the law needs to be changed to clarify what is meant by "close relative". The family are meanwhile considering whether to fight their case in the administrative court of appeal.

The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:20 April 5, 2011 by voiceofreason
I don't think churches should have their own graveyard. If creates an unnecessary attachment to the dead. More like pagans(see dictionary meaning) will do.

That being said, allowing ummaried couples to live together will give the impression that the church supports this kind of behavior. Therefore, if this mann trully loves the church of Christ. He does not need to do something that will bring blemish to the church.
11:29 April 5, 2011 by bravo96
Hej Swedes,

You can't have cake and eat it too.

Either get married to reap these benefites, or quit complaining.
11:40 April 5, 2011 by engagebrain
So a partner of an unmarried couple would be barred, but if one of their children died the partner would have a relative in the graveyard and could move in.

Surely rules and regulations should be drawn up and operated to help not hinder - I may have an optimistic veiew about the purpose of bureaucracies.
15:02 April 5, 2011 by dammen
this is one of the things that is very hypocritical about Sweden. It is OK to live together (sambo) and by law it is accepted even when you have children (marriage is not really encouraged) - but try exercising your rights if your long term partner dies - you are left with nothing. I think this family should fight - as it is the system at fault for encouraging people to live together without the commitment of marriage - but then punishing them when one of the partners die.

Being married sometimes has its merits!
19:05 April 5, 2011 by DAVID T
I wonder if they really care now they are dead
20:18 April 5, 2011 by ironman294
If the guy really cared, he would have married her. I mean 40 years together? Why not get the legal document and entitle her to benefits. It's an attitude of well yuo are good enough to live with, have sex with, but not good enough to be legally bound to me.
12:29 April 6, 2011 by wenddiver
Suggest you not burry the man there either as he was not living as a Christin. His failure to marry a woman he lived with for 40 years speaks volumes as to character. He didn't live as a Christain and shouldn't be burried as one.
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