So that's what Harold and Clay did:
You see, they lived together in California--you remember the fiasco that happened in California, do you not, dear reader? Prop 8? Ring a bell? Prop 8 repealed the right of same-sex couples to get married in the state of California under the guise of "majority rule" (i.e. Mob rule). The Mormon church, Tony Perkins of the "Family Research Council," and a whole host of other right-wing lobbyists spent billions of dollars to make sure their right to marriage remained special and separate, and repeated, quite often, that the gays just needed to do their paperwork and leave that word alone, and we'd all be just hunky-dory. In fact, just a few days ago, Tony sent out an email which said the following:
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.
(Well, Tony, you're full of SHIT.) You see, Harold and Clay had done all of those things, but in the state of California, which just rescinded the rights of gay couples to have a marriage license... Well, this is what occurred next:
Let me be clear--I agree that patients should be free to authorize anyone they want to visit them in the hospital and make decisions for them if they are unable to. In fact, they can already do so--through advance directives, such as a health care proxy or power of attorney. These are private contractual arrangements that do not require redefining "family" or "marriage." And they don't require the President of the United States to make himself "hospital-administrator-in-chief."
Oh, it doesn't stop there, dear reader. Oh no, what happened next was beyond the pale. The fact that this can happen in America today, that this very well could have been Rich and I just a few short weeks ago--it terrifies me. The legal paperwork is only as good as the government issuing it, and if the government stance is "Gay relationships are nowhere near as special and important as straight marriage", well, this is what happens:
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.
Their possessions--sold. They were separated against their will, both physical and legal paperwork notwithstanding. Harold died alone. All Clay has left to remember his partner, his lover, his HUSBAND, is a book of pictures. Pictures. A 20-year life together auctioned off like junk, two men torn apart because, according to the "law," they were just "roommates." ROOMMATES?!
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.
I lay this at your feet, Tony. You and the Mormon church and the rest of your ilk. Harold died alone because their relationship wasn't "worthy" of a marriage license, because all they had to do was "fill out the paperwork." All Clay has left from the last 20 years of his life, of their lives, is a photo album. Of course, maybe you don't care, and that is your right. But imagine if it were you, and your loved one, your partner, the last twenty years of your life. Knowing you were barred from seeing them? That they died alone? You weren't there to say that last good-bye, for that last kiss, that last whispered "I love you" gently into the ear that lay by your side for the last twenty years. And all you had left to show for those twenty years--is a photo album. Not the house you both shared, or the yard you both tended, or that special something you both fell in love with at that yard sale... Nothing.
I hope Clay makes them pay through the nose. Even though money can't bring back his husband, I hope he makes them pay until it hurts, until those people responsible feel just a little bit of the pain they inflicted on these two, the pain they inflicted on Harold in the last moments of his life, and the pain and suffering Clay still goes through having been robbed of what should have been their final moments together...
This terrifies me, that this can and apparently does happen. And, dear reader? If it doesn't scare the shit out of you? Then you haven't actually thought about it...
Thanks to the Bilerico Project for bringing this story to light, when even the local papers weren't covering this tragic piece of news.