Discrimination | Gay Seniors | News

Elderly Gay Couple's Life Together Destroyed by Discrimination

Dan Savage at Slog points us to this story, which is really tragic and infuriating:

HouseClay 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...

And that's only the very, very beginning of this story. Head over to NCLR to read more about this awful case they're helping fight....

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  1. People need to get fired for this.

    Posted by: Jacknasty | Apr 18, 2010 4:02:05 PM

  2. I can't do it. I've been avoiding this story; it might kill me. Hits too close to home.

    Posted by: pistolpetey | Apr 18, 2010 4:05:00 PM

  3. maybe obama can issue a memo...

    oh wait, equal marriage would stop this from happening.

    it drives me crazy knowing this when people, even some GAY people say what's in a word, or why bother.

    Posted by: jack | Apr 18, 2010 4:12:29 PM

  4. OK...this just made me cry. What the FU*K IS WRONG WITH PEOPLE?!

    Posted by: Matty | Apr 18, 2010 4:20:37 PM

  5. At this point I'm almost inured to the depressing regularity with which the rights of gay men and women are violated every day in this country. But this story is beyond the pale. Because more than just bureaucratic indifference was at work here: Clay and Harold could only have been treated this way through a uniquely vile combination of heartlessness and hate.

    I hope all the people who did this to them pay a steep price, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Posted by: E. | Apr 18, 2010 4:41:14 PM

  6. I love in Sonoma County and this just hit me I will be there in court to hear what happens I can not believe this I grew up here and this is just to sad it makes me rethink about staying here to live out my life

    Posted by: Kevzin | Apr 18, 2010 5:16:22 PM

  7. This just truly brought tears of sadness and anger to my eyes.

    What really got me, the part that made me spitting angry, was that the county took Clay's possessions to pay for Harold's care. Essentially, in my opinion, the hateful bastards were willing to think of them as being together when it came to money, but considered them separate when it came to granting them any shred common human decency, like allowing someone to visit a loved one in the hospital.

    Disgusting, despicable, and deplorable.

    Posted by: Christopher | Apr 18, 2010 5:16:51 PM


    Posted by: David Ehrenstein | Apr 18, 2010 5:32:34 PM

  9. This really angers me. My partner of 31 years died 8 years ago. I cared for him in our home and fortunately, his family was very supportive. We had durable power of attorney, medical directives and ever other piece of paper our attorney advised us to have. Clearly that does not mean anything to people intent on destroying our relationships. This is beyond heartless; it is not homophobia; it is homo-hatred.

    Posted by: voet | Apr 18, 2010 5:35:21 PM

  10. Lets get Rachel Maddow on this Rachel@msnbc.com I sent her a e-mail and I think we need this to get out there

    Posted by: Kevzin | Apr 18, 2010 5:44:46 PM

  11. Episodes like these keep making me want to urge other Americans one thing: For those who are really frustrated, and who would like a new start, I'd recommend trying to work and live in Canada or Europe where gay people are more welcome and respected. I think if you're willing to help out another country or continent become better by working hard in it, you could really do well in these places in return. Worked for me. Europe can be a great place to live for some gays, and maybe after some time you can move back to the US to take with you any good things you've picked up. Or stay!

    Posted by: X | Apr 18, 2010 5:49:43 PM

  12. As a 72 year old in a 49 year relationship with Richard who is
    80 we think we have all bases covered with all our signed
    documents, but we can see how little that can matter.
    What a horror story.

    Posted by: Henry Beaton | Apr 18, 2010 5:55:58 PM

  13. After the tears comes the anger, and the goddamn law. These bastards deserve to be taken to court and financially raped for not honoring the legal papers.

    Posted by: princely54 | Apr 18, 2010 6:27:49 PM

  14. I had a cordial if not loving relationship with my partner of 11 years’ family. When my partner got sick I had all the necessary legal documents thank god. His family put me through hell trying to take everything we owned separately and together. Also trying to force their wishes for his health directives on us. When he died they got an attorney to try to get a small insurance policy he had left to me. They finally got it, the policy was for 10k which I was going to have to spend 20k in legal fees to keep.

    Posted by: GGREEN | Apr 18, 2010 6:30:20 PM

  15. donate to NCLR today to help Clay's fight. I did.

    Posted by: David | Apr 18, 2010 6:50:30 PM

  16. I don't think being married would have helped Harold and Clay. The Sonoma County officials broke all laws to do these heinous acts, and their hatred of gays and disregard for law and order would not have stopped them from ignoring a marriage certificate between two men when they consider such a document to be a crime against the will of god.

    If only there WERE a god to show these vile monsters her will in their afterlife, which could not come soon enough to suit me.

    Posted by: Zlick | Apr 18, 2010 7:37:42 PM

  17. It's been a long time since I have been this angry at injustice... I always stand up for an underdog, but this situation made me totally lose it! These bastards that did this to Clay and Harold should be JAILED never mind lose their jobs! It is terrible to be so hateful towards these two men and dismissive of their relationship, but it is CRIMINAL to defy the legal documents.

    I donated to NCLR to help with this (and other cases they undertake)... I ask you guys who as outraged as I am to do the same. Let's get justice served!

    My heart goes out to Clay, and to Harold.... I cannot even imagine the emotional hell they must have gone through being torn apart like that!

    Posted by: CKNJ | Apr 18, 2010 8:55:34 PM

  18. I hope they bankrupt Sonoma County for this - this is not only inexcusable, it's criminal.

    Posted by: steve | Apr 18, 2010 9:47:21 PM

  19. Unbelievable!!! remember this could happen to you in the near future, despite having your files/paperwork in order, tired of being tired as a second class citizen??? let's act, instead of react

    Posted by: Joe | Apr 18, 2010 10:28:23 PM

  20. outrageous and inhuman. it makes me sick.

    Posted by: nic | Apr 19, 2010 12:18:33 AM

  21. This is just one reason why marriage equality is SO important. This story is not just horribly sad but worthy of some "heads rolling" for it's inhumanity. I can't fathom the hopelessness both Harold and Clay must have felt as all this transpired. And I agree this deserves national attention -- let's hope Rachel Maddow picks it up.

    Posted by: robertmalcolm | Apr 19, 2010 2:53:01 AM

  22. My heart goes out to Clay. I hope he gains restitution, in whatever form it takes.

    RIP Harold.

    And as for all those involved in creating the terror the couple has had to endure... well, let's just say it's a good thing that I am not your judge and executioner.

    Posted by: aleabeth | Apr 19, 2010 7:36:19 AM

  23. California shows how progressive it is. Marriage still legal in Iowa.

    After this story, I can say that I have had my last glass of overpriced Sonoma County cabernet oak-juice.

    Posted by: Matt | Apr 19, 2010 9:24:07 AM

  24. I will won't be buying wine from Sonoma vally

    Posted by: Tim | Apr 19, 2010 9:37:26 AM

  25. We are systematically demonized, excluded, and mistreated (really outright abused; financially, emotionally, and psychologically).

    Yet we pay taxes AS IF we are "real citizens". What kind of "citizen" of a free democracy would ever put up with this shit?

    Bullies know that the sissies do not fight back (with anything besides sheets of paper and marches). It's time society's "sissies" use their FISTS (tax dollars). Anything else will be systematically ignored and dismissed.


    Posted by: John Bisceglia | Apr 19, 2010 10:28:28 AM

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