Sunday, April 18, 2010

You want to get angry about something that *really* matters?

Then get angry about this:
From the National Center for Lesbian Rights website:

Greene v. County of Sonoma et al.

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.
It's stories like this one, and the story of Janice Langbehn and Lisa Pond's recent abuse at the hands of Miami's Jackson Memorial Hospital that make what President Obama signed into law this week so damned important.

Are you as outraged as I am by this story? Then please blog about it, pass it along over Facebook, Tumblr or Twitter and do whatever you can to help raise the visibility of Clay Green's case. And please do send a letter to the local Sonoma County paper, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat (which is owned by the New York Times) at letters@pressdemocrat.com. Include this link to NCLR's page. And to learn more about NCLR's Elder Law Project, click here.

Via The Bilerico Project and Livejournal's ONTD Political Community.
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EDIT TO ADD: There is now an online petition to have the Santa Rosa Press Democrat run this story. Click here to add your name to the petition.

31 comments:

Kessa said...

Retweeted - facebooked - and will be sending it around to friends. Thanks for sharing it.

sruble said...

That is horrible and unconscionable. I really don't understand how people can treat other people like they aren't even human and have no rights. I've retweeted and am hopeful that the new law will prevent this from happening again.

C. E. Bailey said...

Thanks for sharing this. People need to look at reality for what it is and base their decisions on that alone.

Budda Wiggi said...

I pray for everyone involved, everyone needs to open their eyes and minds, take a step back, and see the big picture. thank you for sharing this.

Project Savior said...

Thanks for sharing, this new regulation helps others as well, I put a link to this on my blog to get a few more people to read about it.

Angela McCallister said...

WTF is wrong with these people? Their actions are inhuman and disgusting. An apology is too much to ask from these egocentric sociopaths and it wouldn't begin to cut it anyway. I'm glad Obama's finally doing something, even just this small step, to fulfill some of his campaign promises.

I've shared this with my peeps.

M said...

Thank you so much for sharing this. So many law schools and nonprofits have Elder Law divisions and teach courses on it, but in my (albeit limited) experience, I have never heard LGBT issues like those illustrated in the Green case discussed in the general context of Elder Law. And they absolutely, unequivocally should be. I am thrilled to learn that NCLR is on top of this--and think that every other nonprofit with an Elder Law section should be, too.

GalaktioNova said...

That's just pure fascism. It broke my heart.

Bill Cameron said...

That is just appalling.

Rachelle said...

I'm horrified by this and passing it along. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

LossAngeles said...

I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.

Virginia Lee said...

RTed and shared on Facebook. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

Annarkie said...

Holy hell. I cannot believe this. I thought this was supposed to be America, not the futeristic fascist world in V for Vendetta.
My heart goes out to that poor man even as my faith in humanity plummets.

shonagonchan said...

Heartbreaking and terrifying. I cheered when Obama signed the new bill. And then I thought, "Christ, it's 2010 and this is only happening now?"

Crystal Posey said...

Appalling is the right word.

Kelly said...

Where are the anti-Big Government voices when stuff like this happens? My God, how truly frightening!

Emily White said...

This is utterly awful, but I'm not sure if this new law is going to help anything. They do this stuff to married couples too. Anytime the government gets their eyes on your money, they'll stoop to amazing lengths to get it. It's disgusting

David H. Burton said...

Thanks for posting. Facebooked and tweeted. For us same-sex couples that have children, this could be even worse. It makes me sick to think of what could happen to children in these kinds of cases if something happens to one partner.

Shayla Kersten said...

I sobbed like a baby when I read the article. How can anyone be so cruel? Retweeted. Facebooked. Blogged.

Brynn Paulin said...

I am so angry and horrified by this! This is absolutely wrong.

sex scenes at starbucks said...

I read this and was outraged and not a little sad.

Rowenna said...

This is awful on so many levels--in addition to the blatant violation of rights in the GLBT arena, the mistreatment of the elderly and refusing them access to decision-making about their own lives truly angers me--that has happened and continues to happen to citizens regardless of orientation, gender, or marital status. It's time we all paid more attention to these issues--this isn't "someone else's" issue.

Matthew Rush said...

Colleen, I'm going to beg your forgiveness beforehand for swearing on your blog because I can't ask for permission.

This fucking kind of ignorant bullshit infuriates me to no end.

Let me make a few points. I'm a straight man. I got arrested for a few violent and drug related mistakes when I was younger. I'm not exactly sure why I point this out but I guess I want it to be clear that most would consider my football loving, unmarried, beer drinking position to be pretty unsympathetic.

In spite of all that I have two daughters. We live with my girlfriend who is their mom but we're not married. I would never compare our plight to these poor men's but there are similarities.

On top of that the coolest, most intelligent, most inspiring, kindest person I know is my little sister. She's a gay woman.

Also my best friend is in a bi-racial relationship. They have two mixed race children. This is obviously a totally separate issue but some of the small minded ignorance that fuels this bullshit is behind their problems as well.

Anyway to the point of the post I will do everything I can to expose this story. California is so forward in many things but other issues seem to stump them for no reason.

I realize that this situation is more of a breakdown in local bureaucracy than statewide legislation problem. But it seems like this kind of ignorance is worse in Cali than anywhere other than Texas and the state I live in. Georgia.

I'm kidding but come on. It's 2010. Two men who have loved each other and lived together since I was in middle school can't have joint property, insurance or the right to make medical decisions for each other?

What if the hurt gentleman had named his partner specifically in his will? Is that allowed?

I did hear a story on NPR this morning - or was it yesterday? about a new Obama law that would allow gay partners to make medical decisions for each other such as Do Not Resuscitate. Would this apply to my pretty much common law wife?

When the fuck can we insure each other without being married?

I've gone on for far too long but this shit is ridiculous. We've come a long way but this proves there's still a long way to go.

Kelly Dexter said...

I am absolutely appalled and disgusted by this. It breaks my heart that for all the technological advances humanity has made, the progression of our hearts and spirits are severely lacking.

Marjorie said...

I agree with Harriet Ackley0317.

Christi Goddard said...

I hate that something like this has happened, but I wish it had happened in Texas. My friends in the Gay and Lesbian Court of Central Texas would have been all over this. We're tired of being persecuted and our rights ignored. As a country, as people, we have come a long way towards tolerance and diversity, but when the governments of our country fail in so heartbreaking a manner, it pisses me off to no end.

That Rebel with a Blog said...

This breaks my ever-loving heart. I've passed it on with links to your blog for the info. Thank you for sharing what I would've missed otherwise.

Fawn Neun said...

This is just absolutely infuriating. I've got no sticks in the LGBT fire, but it seems to me that the human rights issues that the community is facing is representative of how tentative it is for all of us. Where the hell is human decency? Why is this necessary and who benefits by this cruelty? It's pointlessly cruel.

What the mainstream population doesn't seem to understand is that if they can do this to people because they're gay, they can do it to them because they're short, or blue-eyed, or Italian, or any other group that someone gets it in their head to denounce and oppress. History has taught us that.

If we're not ALL equal then NONE of us are equal. And that's all there is to that.

Reb said...

I'm opposed to any sort of group rights. Be careful before you cast me into any category, you might be surprised.

Perhaps it is because I've heard too many stories about courts that turned out not to be what the story said that I'm skeptical. This sounds like a plaintive’s pleading but if it's accurate I do feel sorry for the innocent residents of the county... they're going to pay for some bonehead moves.

Sybir St. John said...

These are the stories that make me ashamed to be a human. Stepping on people's rights...for every step we take forward, we take so many steps back.

admin said...

Where are the anti-Big Government voices when stuff like this happens? My God, how truly frightening!THANKYOU