Why marriage is important – gay and straight: A story of elder abuse

Reposted from sister blog BuryingTheLead.com

I cannot believe just how horrific some stories of abuse can turn out to be, especially for the elderly.  All too often, cases of our elders being taken for granted and scammed are in the news, and the actual act of elder abuse is rampant.  Try doubling elder abuse with that of gay elders, and you get the following story.

A gay elderly couple that had been together for quite a while named Clay and Howard lived in Sonoma County, California.  Now you think of Sonoma, and think – this place is just North of San Francisco, and it is known as the wine country.  It has to be progressive.  Well not for Clay and Howard.  You see, Howard (age 88) fell down outside his and Clay’s (age 77) home.  Unable to care for him, Howard was put in a nursing home.  But things took a dramatic turn for the worse.  Clay was forbidden by the County to see Howard.  Clay himself was put in his own nursing home.  The County and the facility declared that Clay and Howard were just “roommates”, and thus Clay had no legal right to either see Howard, nor make any decisions about his care.

This is an excerpt from the article that is most horrific – though I plead with everyone to read the entire thing over at NCLRights.org:

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.

This is beyond chilling and horrific.  This is some of the most disgusting treatment of gay elders that I have ever read about.  And I ask you this one question:  Would this have happened to a man and a woman who were married?  No, not at all.  So why would we allow this to occur to a gay couple?

Marriage is about love, and gay and lesbian couples have and express love just like their straight counterparts.  But it is also about protection and civil rights provided by law.  This is why marriage is so very important – gay and straight.

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