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[personal profile] bajahyena
I would just link this but it's so important that people understand why anything but marriage will result in second class treatment for GBLT couples. I got this from

If this can happen in California, it can happen anywhere in our country that does not protect loving and committed gay couples under the legal protections of marriage.

Sonoma County CA separates elderly gay couple and sells all of their worldly possessions
Filed 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 elderly_man.jpgHarold 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.

Date: 2010-04-18 06:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This hurts my heart. :(

I will save this story as an example of what happens when people think separate but equal is good enough.

Date: 2010-04-18 07:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It sucks, yes.

But if he was 88 years old and in frail health, then where's the will?

Date: 2010-04-18 07:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
There was. The county ignored it and took both peoples possessions to pay for the "home" he was put in while refusing to acknowledge any relationship. Also, a will doesn't go into effect until someone is dead. So, someone becoming ill and having their possessions taken would not be effected by the existence of a will.
Edited Date: 2010-04-18 07:06 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-04-18 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
All right. I stand corrected.

Date: 2010-04-18 07:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh f**king hell, what is wrong with people?

Date: 2010-04-18 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I utterly support the need for completely equal legal benefits for same-sex couples.

However, I think the GLBT community is delaying our own success in securing these rights by insisting that they be called "marriage." It's a complicated area to understand, and a complicated issue. There is a LOT of religious context to "marriage" that really shouldn't be a part of the civil/legal/government systems for anyone, straight or otherwise. It's there, though, and it's intimately tied to church. I think that this is why, at least in part, there's such a vehement fight against 'gay marriage.' My perception is that those opposed to gay marriage think we're demanding that religion accommodate us. Maybe some of us are demanding that. (I'm not, personally.)

If we demanded a civil union that held all of the same exact legal benefits of a hetero marriage, our needs would be met, wouldn't they? At least as far as basic civil rights go? The fight to change religion could then be left to those who wish to do so. Eventually, a stronger separation of church and state could be advocated. Namely, ALL couples will get a 'civil union' instead of a 'marriage' in the eyes of the state.

I won't say that the opposition to "separate but equal" is unreasonable, especially given a case like this one. I just think that we'd have more success redefining the state/civil portion of this than the religious portions of it, initially.


Date: 2010-04-18 09:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I actually agree with you. It seems so simple to me to fix. Can't you just have a law that says "Civil Union's equal Marriage in the eyes of the law"? Then the terms are interchangeable.

Date: 2010-04-18 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep, the government gives you a Civil Union, if you want to get 'married' find yourself some secular or religous ceremony that fits, and everybody can in- or ex-clude whomever they want from their particular brand of ceremony.

Date: 2010-04-18 11:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Whew, ok, I was worried I'd just taken a big dump on your front lawn with that post. :)


Date: 2010-04-19 05:52 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Even if you had, I have thicker skin than to take offense. I'm not usually stuck to an idea I'm more than happy to listen to a good argument. I change my mind all the time on things. Being too stubborn can lead one into 8 yrs of Bush! ;)

Date: 2010-04-19 06:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hah, well, I wasn't worried about offending you so much as causing a flamewar or something on your LJ. You're a good man, Baja -- far more easygoing than I am. Very sorry to have missed you at FCN. I flipped out and totally forgot about it. We went TV hunting instead. o.O


Date: 2010-04-19 03:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm gonna have to disagree with one point:

The problem is not that the GLBT community is demanding the term marriage. It's that we're demanding equal treatment and rights. We don't give a flying fuck what you call it as long as it's the same privileges that heterosexual couples enjoy.

The real problem is the fact that the word "marriage" is built into all our legal documentation from fed and state. We demand marriage, because it's the de facto term.

Remove "marriage" from the documents, and we'll happily accept whatever term they would like to use for civil unions as long as it's the same term that opposite-sex couples use.

To quote the Brown vs. Board of Education case: "Separate but equally is inherently unequal."

Date: 2010-04-19 04:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think that I'm trying to say what you're saying here. I'm just not doing so as clearly.

I'd far prefer for legal documentation to be utterly free of 'marriage' as a word, and use instead 'civil union' for EVERYONE. Then it wouldn't be separate. You're absolutely right, though, to say that we demand marriage because there's no other term to apply at this point in time.

I would personally prefer separate over nothing if that's what it takes to get the ball rolling. I'm NOT saying I would give up the fight to equalize the language eventually.


Date: 2010-04-18 08:05 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This has nothing to do whether they could use the term "married" or not. California has very strong civil union laws that should have stopped this horse shit.

This was simply an outrageous act of negligence (and possibly malfeasance) on the part of uneducated and uncaring county workers. I feel very bad for the couple, but for sure the survivor is going to come away with a huge settlement.

I'm not even sure that in the early days of "legal gay marriage", should it ever be passed, something like this would be incapable of happening. Some government workers are just idiots and fall back on their "eggs on top, canned goods on the bottom" automatic responses to something they don't understand. And now they're going to pay the price for it.

Date: 2010-04-19 05:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Most likely, the survivor will pass on before the court case and it's appeals are completed. In the end, you can't fix with any judgement having missed the one opportunity to ease a mate into the darkness. To be there so he feels your hand in his as he slips away and to know he is loved.

Date: 2010-04-18 08:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It's because of people like this that I truly hope there is a heaven and a hell. Some people need to pay for their cruelty. Evil doesn't always sport a villainous mustache, sometimes it's guise is completely ordinary but every bit as terrible.

Awful beyond words.
Edited Date: 2010-04-18 08:26 pm (UTC)

Date: 2010-04-18 08:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My god, this is horrible.

Date: 2010-04-18 09:06 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Unfortunately I don't see the situation getting better any time soon. The forces of ignorance in this country are strong and growing stronger. People only care about taxes and guns and not any personal freedoms.

Date: 2010-04-19 08:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'll pass this story around. Thank you.
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