Yeah, gays want “special” rights

Anyone who thinks gays want “special” rights should read this, and think about it. It’s an extremely disturbing story, on more than one level.

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. […]

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.

[…]

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.”

[…]

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.

[…]

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.

Clay is now suing the county, the auction company, and the nursing home. Read the whole thing, I’ve only pointed out the most disturbing details here.

You wonder why gays want actual marriage and refuse to settle for “civil unions”? You wonder why gay couples are always paranoid about the legal arrangements they’ve made in case something happens to one of them? It’s because, while this is a particularly egregious example, things like this happen all the time. Hospitals bar gays from seeing their partners in the hospital. Courts and local governments discard the legal arrangements that have been made, especially if a blood relative challenges those arrangements. Some states have different requirements for certain arrangements, so a couple that jumps through all the legal hoops to make the same arrangements that are granted automatically nationwide with marriage has to jump through more (and sometimes different) hoops to do it all over again if they move to another state. Some states won’t recognize those arrangements no matter what the couple does.

These are all things that straight couples can take care of by signing one document – a marriage license (or certificate, in some states). That marriage license, and the benefits it brings automatically, is recognized in all fifty states with no questions asked for straight couples – for gays it (or the equivalent “civil union”) is completely ignored in all but a few states. That one document cannot be overridden by a disapproving relative unless they can overcome significant and serious legal hurdles – unlike the legal arrangements gay couples are forced to use, which are often overridden because they are a gay couple. That one document guarantees hospital visitation and medical decision-making for a straight spouse – for gays even the proper advance legal arrangements don’t always matter.

This is why we want marriage, not some sham equivalent like “civil unions”. Separate is not equal.

(h/t TFS Magnum)

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.

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5 Comments

  1. Jack

     /  September 26, 2011

    Tough shit!!! You are not talking about equality, you are talking about equity. Not to mention homosexual men are the leading cause of HIV/AIDS transmission.

    Reply
    • Your comment is nonsensical, and doesn’t appear to have any relevance to the actual post beyond the apparent gay-bashing context. You may want to try some actual logical argument.

      Reply
  2. Owen

     /  June 7, 2012

    thats so sad………..I’m 13 years old and gay and this is really disheartening….
    Jack: STFU You ignorant asshole! By the way There are more Hetero sexual people with aids then gay men! http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_do_more_gay_people_get_aids

    Reply
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