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If You Think Your Parents Are Bad…

Timothy Kincaid

August 13th, 2007

Patrick Atkins knew that his family was judgmental and unaccepting.  And he knew that after 25 years together, Brett Conrad was the person he trusted to love, honor and cherish him.  But he did not know that he would suffer a ruptured aneurysm on a business trip which would leave him mentally impaired at the age of 47.

And so, like many gay couples, Brett and Patrick did not prepare the extensive and often expensive legal documents that would have given each other the protection and control over their own lives.  And now Patrick’s illness is a stark illustration of what can happen if legal protections are forgotten and family members are allowed to put their own biases above your happiness or care:

Conrad traveled to the Atlanta hospital to be with Atkins but was soon denied access by the family. Hospital staff defied the family’s wishes and let Conrad visit Atkins during off-hours.

Atkins eventually was moved to a nursing facility in Carmel, where Conrad would arrive after regular visiting hours so the Atkinses would not see him.

He filed his guardianship request in June 2005. That November, the Atkinses moved Patrick into their home and have since refused to let Conrad visit. They also have refused his phone calls.

It is inarguable that the Atkinses are cruel people. And their behavior cannot be justified. And, sadly, as long as gay couples are denied the easy remedy of marriage and instead are subjected to legal barriers and multiple forms, this story will repeat itself.

So each of us take a moment to ask ourselves if we trust those who have legal claim to us to honor and respect our lives. And if the answer is “no” then take the steps necessary to protect yourself from those who might believe that their dogma or bigotry can justify any level of cruelty.

(hat tip to reader David)



August 13th, 2007 | LINK

And what steps can legally “single” people really take that are ironclad when the statutes are still grounded in the 19th century and being reinforced by these bogus constitutional amendments “protecting” marriage?

The states treat legally “single” people as if they are permanent adolescents who are wards of their parents, then their siblings, and finally the state. Legally “single” people are essentially not considered adult enough to form their own “families” nor have their own meaningful relationships. To allow them legal status is exactly what the fundies scream about. . .

Jim Burroway
August 13th, 2007 | LINK

My thoughts on this was “well of course, it’s partly their fault because they didn’t have powers of attorney, living wills, etc.”

But then I thought about Russell Groff and realized that even with a mountain of documents, estranged parents can tie partners up in costly legal knots for years.

Lynn David
August 14th, 2007 | LINK

It is inarguable that the Atkinses are cruel people. And their behavior cannot be justified.

Their behavior can and has been justified in Indiana! I wonder if Conrad had the correct paperwork if Georgia would have given him proper just in the face of a legal assault from the Atkins family. I just see this as having gone bad for Conrad no matter what. I get the feeling the Atkins could have shopped for a judge who would have ruled in their favor.

August 15th, 2007 | LINK

Thanks for the hat tip, Tim.

I invite all readers to contact national news outlets to strongly encourage them to cover this story. The more attention we draw to the cruely of the Atkins toward their son Patrick, the more likely they can be shamed into relenting.

To help encourage you to spread the news of Patrick and Brett’s plight, here are some of the comments left on the Indystar site by parents Jeanne and Tom Atkins’ supporters:

“He obviously deliberately chose his parents to serve in that capacity and not his fruity so claimed “friend”.”

“Homosexuals are like children. It feels good and they want it, so it MUST be right.”

“A fudgepacker can’t see his boyfriend and it makes the paper? Oh brother”

“The filthiness that is homosexuality is one of the greatest threats in todays society. I for one am glad to see that the family is doing the right thing by their son, and I support their Christian efforts fully. It’s a shame that so many of you think you know what is better for this man than his family. It’s not your business, or that gay guy’s business, it’s a FAMILY MATTER.”

Should the likes of those I’ve quoted above triumph, with the approval of the Indiana judiciary?

September 5th, 2007 | LINK

Thanks so much for your coverage on this story. We have set up a website in an attempt to keep this story alive.

Tell your family and friends about this story. Things will only begin to change when the outcry from the public is too loud to ignore!

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