Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why it matters: elderly gay couple forcibly separated

From the NCLR, the case Green vs Sonoma County:
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......

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. ..... Clay was finally released from the nursing home.
He is bringing suit against the county.

Remember, this abuse occurred in California, where we supposedly have all the respect of marriage, without the word itself. This couple was separated against their will, their belongings stolen, their lives destroyed--in a state thought of as "liberal", "friendly", "supportive."

How many Clays and Harolds are there in the US being brutalized for the crime of being old and gay?

So, ya think it matters?

Update Clay has won a settlement against the county. Of course, he was separated from Harold at the end, so it's cold comfort.


Göran Koch-Swahne said...

Don't ever say again that you are free from State intrusion and Europeans are slaves...

JCF said...

FWIW, county officials are now claiming it was a domestic violence case (that the elder man no longer wanted to live w/ the "abusive" younger man, and requested to go to a nursing home).

Yeah, I believe there's more to it, too.

[Hat-tip, Joe.My.God.]