sethgray: (Red Queen)
[personal profile] sethgray
(Note: Copied wholesale from here.)

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.

Guys this is why marriage equality is so important. Things like this wouldn't happen, or at least couldn't happen as easily, if GLBT people had full legal protection. Please help spread the word about this.

Call and write:

6th District: Marin County and Sonoma County

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey
Washington DC Office: (202) 225-516
Marin Office: (415) 507-9554
Sonoma Office: (415) 507-9601

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841

Sonoma County Supervisors:
FIRST DISTRICT: Supervisor Valerie Brown

SECOND DISTRICT: Supervisor Mike Kerns

THIRD DISTICT: Supervisor Shirley Zane

FOURTH DISTRICT: Supervisor Paul Kelley

FIFTH DISTRICT: Supervisor Efren Carrillo

Get this on the news:

Rachel Maddow, MSNBC -

MSNBC Live Senior Producer Chris Ariens (201) 583-5000

MSNBC Live Senior Producer Stefanie Cargill (201) 583-5000

MSNBC/Microsoft-NBC National News Director Robert Dembo (201) 583-5222

MSNBC/Microsoft-NBC News Senior Director Alison Hawley (201) 583-5155

MSNBC/Microsoft-NBC News Senior Producer Steve Hyvonen (201) 583-5155 (201) 583-5453

MSNBC Live Senior Producer Nick Kovijanic (201) 583-5000

MSNBC/Microsoft-NBC News Senior Producer Dave Levine (201) 583-5707

MSNBC/Microsoft-NBC News Editor In Chief Jerry Nachman (201) 583-5155

MSNBC/Microsoft-NBC News Senior Producer Richard Stockwell (201) 583-5155

MSNBC/Microsoft-NBC News Senior Producer Mike Tanaka (201) 583-5155

MSNBC/Microsoft-NBC News Senior Producer Essa Yip (201) 583-5155

ABC News 212-456-4040
CBS News 212-975-3691
NBC News 212-664-4971
CNN 404-827-1511
Fox News 212-301-3300
MSNBC 201-583-5222
PBS 703-998-2150
NPR 202-414-2200
NY Times 212-556-1234
USA Today 703-276-3400
Newsweek 212-445-4000
Time 212-522-1212
U.S. News 202-955-2000
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