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Apr 18, 2010

One evening, 88 year old 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.
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Adapted from Elderly Gay Couple Separated by Sonoma County Officials, Ignoring Couple's Express Wishes: written by Steve Williams
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The following story documents [an] incident of discrimination against a same-sex couple from Sonoma, California, who took all the required legal steps to establish their health care directives and power of attorney rights, but whose preparations were allegedly ignored by county officials that, despite the couple's 20 year relationship, considered them nothing more than "roommates" and kept them apart when, after an accident, one of them was hospitalized in 2008.
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From the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) case summary:
   Clay and Harold did not take advantage of California's domestic partnership law and obviously weren't married in the brief time between California's marriage bans.
   Instead, and like many older gay and lesbian couples, they relied on having drafted all the other appropriate legal documents naming each other as beneficiaries of their respective estates and agents for medical decisions and the like, so as to protect their wishes and assets in case of an emergency. This should have been enough. Apparently, it wasn't.
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The next part of this story is truly heartbreaking and is taken from a separate, more detailed post from the NCLR:

... [While] Harold was hospitalized, Deputy Public Guardians went to the men’s home, took photographs, and commented on the desirability and quality of the furnishings, artwork, and collectibles that the men had collected over their lifetimes.
Ignoring Clay entirely, the County focused on Harold, going so far as to petition the Court for conservatorship of his estate. Outrageously referring to Clay only as a “roommate” and failing to disclose their true relationship, the County continued to treat Harold as if he had no family. The County sought immediate temporary authority to revoke Harold’s powers of attorney, to act without further notice, and to liquidate an investment account to pay for his care.

The court, however, chose to deny that motion, but did grant county officials what the NCLR calls "limited access" to Harold's finances in order to pay for his care. This, it seems, was insufficient. The NCLR goes on:

Then, despite being granted only limited powers and with undue haste, the County arranged for the sale of the men’s personal property, cleaned out their home, terminated their lease, confiscated their truck, and eventually disposed of all of the men’s worldly possessions, including family heirlooms, at a fraction of their value and without any proper inventory or determination of whose property was being sold.

Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from their home and confined him to a nursing home against his will—a different placement from his partner. Clay was kept from seeing Harold during this time, and his telephone calls were limited.

Three months later, Harold died in the nursing home he had been placed in, and Clay, because of the County's actions, could not be at his partner's bedside during those final months.
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With the exception of but one photo album that Harold had painstakingly put together for Clay during his declining weeks of life, Clay has been left without any of his personal possessions to remind him of the 20-year relationship he shared with Harold as, to date, he has not been able to recover any of the items that were auctioned off.
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Clay has reportedly now been released from the nursing home following an appeal by his court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis. Now, Ms. Dennis along with Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong, will be representing Clay in legal action against the County, the auction company and the nursing home, with technical assistance being provided by the NCLR.
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A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.
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It is perhaps pertinent to note that Sonoma County voted against Proposition 8, California's gay marriage ban, by 66.1 percent in 2008, and that it is largely considered to be a progressive area where LGBT issues are concerned. As such, the emergence of this story serves to highlight the need for Thursday's memorandum, as it demonstrates that instances of discrimination can occur mostly anywhere.
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However, President Obama's memorandum grazes only one of the 1138 rights that marriage affords heterosexual couples that are currently denied their same-sex counterparts. As such, the need to repeal the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is also brought into stark focus if we are to ensure that same-sex couples are not left vulnerable beyond the narrow focus of Thursday's memorandum.
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For more information on end-of-life issues and the legal problems facing older LGBT people, please click here.
the related C2NN story to help raise awareness of this tragedy.

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Posted: Apr 18, 2010 7:37pm
Apr 11, 2010

HUMAN RIGHTS ISSUE:
DON'T LET THIS URGENT MATTER SLIDE!
PETITION: Uganda's Anti-Gay Bill Threatens Human Rights
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If passed, Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill would start a witch-hunt for homosexuals in the country. Its punishments include:
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* A 7 year jail sentence for consenting adults who have LGBT sex
* A life sentence for people in same-sex marriages
* Extradition and prosecution of LGBT Ugandans living abroad
* The death penalty for adults who have LGBT sex with minors or who communicate HIV via LGBT sex, regardless of condom usage
* Jail for anyone who doesn't report suspected LGBT activity within 24 hours
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The bill also endangers HIV/AIDS programs, and may be exploited by those wanting to abolish these programs.
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This proposed legislation is anti-ethical, anti-equality and anti-human rights. Tell Uganda's President Museveni that this bill is unacceptable, and that people should not be criminalized for sexual orientation or gender identity.
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Already signed the petition?
Thank you! Please consider forwarding it to your friends to spread the word.
To find out more on Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill, links to our continued coverage of this story are provided below:
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President Obama Condemns Uganda's 'Odious' Anti-Homosexuality Bill
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Ugandan Anti-Homosexuality Bill: Rick Warren Speaks Out
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Ugandan Gay Death Penalty Bill: Sweden Threatens to Withdraw Aid, Should the USA?
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Uganda's Gay Death Penalty Bill is 'Morally Repugnant' Says United Reform Church
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Uganda's 'Kill the Gays' Bill on the Backburner?
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ARTICLES - TO DO LIST... 
Add comments; follow up; blog; newsify; add to facebook; email; tweet and retweet! 
                 
My thanks to Steve Williams for caring enough to make a difference.

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Posted: Apr 11, 2010 6:19pm
Dec 3, 2009
Take Action:
Urge Christian leaders to oppose Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
__________________________________________________________.
(The following has been taken from "Uganda's Gay Death Penalty Bill is 'Morally Repugnant' Says United Reform Church" by Steve Williams.)
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Religious leaders have begun to formally condemn a law tabled by Ugandan backbencher David Bahati that would grant Ugandan authorities the ability to condemn HIV positive gay citizens to death under the charge of "aggravated homosexuality" among other stringent penalties.
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So who has spoken out?
NO...
the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams remains silent. 
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YES...The United Reform Church in the UK has taken the step of formallycondemning Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill. In a statement, the United Reform Church called the bill "draconian" and said that it was appalled by the tabled law, adding:
“This draft legislation represents a clear infringement of human rights and is morally repugnant. . . We add our voice to the many calling for the immediate withdrawal of this discriminatory bill.”
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Internally, Uganda's Christian groups have been split by the bill. Some are welcoming it as a clear stance against "moral imperialism" and the infiltration of Western values.
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NO...Joseph Abura, Anglican Bishop of Karamoja in Uganda,
described those who oppose the bill as "lovers of evil".
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YES...British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has informed Musevini of his deep concern over the proposed law.
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Dimitri Soudas, a spokesman for the Canadian Prime Minister's Office, said:
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“Canada has clearly spoken out against human-rights violations committed against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and we urge states to take all necessary measures to ensure that sexual orientation and gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests, or detention.”
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YES...Canadian Anglicans have likewise spoken out against the bill, adding that it would
"impose excessive and cruel penalties on persons who experience same-sex attraction," which would be in direct opposition to Uganda's international commitments.
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So, has this international condemnation had much impact within Uganda?
The answer is NO, not really.
 
...the government remains stalwart that this bill is necessary to protect Uganda's moral integrity. In
just the past week, Yoweri Museveni claimed European homosexuals are recruiting in Africa and trying to spread homosexuality.
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Interestingly, rumours that President Museveni, Ugandan Ethics Minister Nsaba Buturo and MP David Bahati are linked to U.S. group "The Family" continue to persist, while the notion that Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill was informed by American anti-gay groups also continues. 
More on this from The Observer.
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Global religious leaders still have a chance at changing this....
Take Action:
Urge Christian leaders to oppose Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Bill.

 

 
 
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