Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Why it matters

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 According to the NY Times, the County claims that there was a domestic violence claim in 2008. Somehow, although this was not substantiated, nor adjudicated by trial or hearing, this allowed them to place both men in nursing homes, to take the property belonging to BOTH men and sell it. Do they appropriate property of married people, without trial or hearing, in response to unsubstantiated claims? Is the county entitled to take everything, regardless of proof or legal findings? Apparently so.
Shannon Minter, a lawyer for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is arguing on behalf of Mr. Greene, aid in an e-mail message that the domestic violence charge resulted from “unsubstantiated suspicions and allegations that the county never followed up on, because there was no evidence of abuse.”

He added: “The county was certainly right to take initial measures to investigate and determine whether there was abuse, which is a serious issue for many elders. But they did not treat this case as they would have for a heterosexual couple.”


TJT said...

My heart is heavy on this one. This is an example of the cruelest consequences of homophobia. When citizens don't have equal protection under the law, they are sitting ducks for abuse, neglect, and discrimination.

I pray justice is truly served.

Counterlight said...

Michael and I get a lot of grief from Empire Blue Cross/ Shield that we probably wouldn't get if we were a hetero married couple. These are issues that we think about.

David |Dah • veed| said...

And you know that at the heart of this whole issue was some damned homophobe with a little power! "Heh, I will show these buttf***ers. I will make their pathetic lives miserable now that I am in control."

I see no other plausible explanation otherwise.