Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Just in case anyone forgot why marriage equality really matters

I am in an all-day training session today, but wanted to make sure you were aware of this.

This is SO WRONG!!

iled by: Kate Kendell
April 17, 2010 4:00 PM

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. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.

With the help of a dedicated and persistent court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa, Clay was finally released from the nursing home. Ms. Dennis, along with Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong, now represent Clay in a lawsuit against the county, the auction company, and the nursing home, with technical assistance from NCLR. A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.

Crush du Jour: Tommy Haas


cb said...

I hope this isnt just a made up story. But at the same time I kind of hope it is.

Jim said...

OMG!!!!This is so unbelievable. I hope that marriage equality comes very quickly to the US. It won't though until all stories,and injustices like this come to light.

anne marie in philly said...

holy f-ing $hit! can this REALLY be happening in our country? this sounds like nazi germany tactics! and could it happen to str8s also? don't say no, it can't...the way this country is going makes me wanna hurl!


Rick said...

When I first heard this I thought it was a bit unbelievable. Yet I have heard stories locally on the news of how single elderly people are wiped out when they become incapacitated by various officials. So much for thinking a roommate would help. So sad.

John Going Gently said...

this story does not surprise me...

thanks for highlighting it