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 At least they weren't married...

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Heretic

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PostSubject: At least they weren't married...   5/1/2010, 2:35 am

...because then something bad might have happened, right?

Quote :
Elderly Gay Couple Forcibly Separated, Abused, Robbed By County Officials in California

Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place—wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold’s care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes. Ignoring Clay’s significant role in Harold’s life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold’s “roommate.” The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold’s bank accounts to pay for his care.

What happened next is even more chilling: without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold’s possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold's lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property.


S.E. Smith weighs in, with some relevant points:

Quote :
This heartbreaking situation did not need to happen. Had this couple been heterosexual, even unmarried, this would not have happened.

This is what straight privilege looks like. Straight privilege is being 77 and knowing that if your 88 year old partner falls and is hospitalized, that you will have a role in your partner’s care. You will be consulted if your partner is not able to make decisions. You will be allowed to visit your partner in the hospital. Your belongings and memories will not be sold by County authorities. You can live absolutely secure in the knowledge that no matter what your marriage status is, if you have been together for 20 years, you will be treated as your partner’s family.

Harold ‘had no family,’ oh, except for his partner of 20 years. Harold died alone because of the actions of bigoted busybodies who refused to acknowledge his relationship. Clay was held against his will in a nursing home while his partner was dying and his possessions were being sold off. These men were forcibly kept apart. They were kept apart for no reason whatsoever, other than that they were gay, and someone clearly did not approve of this.

Harold and Clay did everything by the book. They got all of the advance directives and paperwork squared away to prevent this very situation from happening. Unmarried heterosexual couples certainly wouldn’t think to take the steps that these men took. They would assume that they would be able to access their partners and make decisions on their behalf in the event of a medical emergency.

This is not about marriage equality; I don’t know if the men wanted to get married or not. This is about basic human rights. People in a long term relationship with each other should not have to exercise extreme legal measures which are supposed to ensure access in the event of an emergency, only to find that those measures are worthless. And people should not have to get married if they don’t want to simply to secure the ability to make decisions for each other in emergencies. This is a right which should be extended to all people.
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KarenT



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PostSubject: Re: At least they weren't married...   5/1/2010, 8:20 am

Sounds like Harold should sue for his financial loss.
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