ROCKFORD, ILL. A woman who has been fighting for the right to marry her partner of 38 years is considering an appeal of a judge’s order denying her that right, because her partner is in a vegetative state.

“It’s simultaneously heart-wrenching to see, but it’s also kind of a true love story at the same time,” said attorney Nathan Reyes, who is representing 58-year-old Colette Purifoy.

“This is a new area of law that’s arisen,” Reyes said.

Morris is in a vegetative state and cannot sign the papers to get married, but Reyes said the couple had planned to marry before he suffered brain damage.

A judge has ruled that since Morris cannot sign and consent to marriage, the couple cannot marry.

Reyes said the couple has been together almost four decades, and Purifoy wants to marry Morris, despite his condition.

“One of the reasons is intensely personal – a gift to the man she loves. And the other reason is, the law treats them as essentially a nothing until they get married,” Reyes said.

“Purifoy has always put John first. She is at his bedside pretty much every hour of the day,” he said.

“I’m sure people might think in a situation like this, oh – she must be doing it for some sort of massive amount of money that’s hiding in the shadows. There’s nothing like that.”

(Courtesy of

The Orthopedic & Brain Injury Law Group of Goldblatt & Associates, P.C. represents the legal interests of those individuals who have sustained traumatic orthopedic and brain injuries due to the negligence of others. In representing our clients, the firm oversees and handles all aspects of insurance issues ranging from ensuring client’s medical bills are paid and assisting client’s in getting reimbursed for out of pocket expenses, including lost wages.