Posts Tagged As: Sonoma CA

Elderly Gay Man Forcibly Separated from Dying Partner Awarded Damanges In Settlement

Jim Burroway

July 24th, 2010

The Mercury News reports that Clay Greene, 78-year-old Sonoma County, California man who was forcibly separated from his dying partner and whose house and belongings were sold by social workers, has won a $600,000 settlement from Sonoma County:

Greene accused social workers of denying him hospital visitation rights to see his partner, Harold Scull, despite signed wills, medical declarations and powers of attorney naming each other as spouses. The couple was not married nor registered as domestic partners.

The lawsuit also alleged that after Scull’s death, social workers forced Greene into a nursing home and sold the couple’s property, including art and heirlooms. The county’s lawyer, Gregory Spaulding, denied the discrimination claims but admitted mistakes in selling the couple’s property.

Under California law, property worth $5,000 or less can be sold by officials to cover medical expenses. But the couple’s property brought in more than $25,000 at auction. The Public Guardian’s office has revised its policies, according to Spaulding.

Sonoma County Forcibly Separates Elderly Gay Couple

Jim Burroway

April 19th, 2010

Some of the opposition to President Barack Obama’s directive to HHS to formulate rules requiring hospitals and health care institutions to honor LGBT patients’ ability to choose their partners as hospital visitors and decision makers stem from the mistaken belief that if those LGBT couples had signed powers of attorneys and advance medical directives, none of those problems would take place. But as tragic stories like this show, that simply isn’t true:

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.

Harold died, and Clay wasn’t allowed to be there to comfort him. Clay is also without all of their momentos and life possessions that they two had acquired together, with the exception of one photo album. The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) has filed a lawsuit on their behalf against Sonoma County. Trial begins on July 16.

In 2007, a Florida hospital denied Janice Langbehn access to her dying partner, again despite having a legal power of attorney.

Some Cool County Clerks

Timothy Kincaid

June 16th, 2008

We’ve told you about the counties where the Clerks were ungracious about facilitating the marriages of gay couples. Here’s a few that are happy for us.

Sonoma County (NY Times)

Janice Atkinson, the Sonoma County clerk, said her office was planning to stay open late for the rest of the month to accommodate what she expected would be a heavy load of same-sex weddings. On Sunday, Ms. Atkinson and staff members attended a gay pride celebration in Sonoma to hand out applications for marriage licenses to prospective newlyweds.

“We’re expecting some very happy couples,” she said. “And a lot of media.”

Shasta County (Record-Searchlight)

With the change, security concerns have surfaced. After speaking with her office’s employees, as well as the two men to be wed first, Shasta County Clerk Cathy Darling’s arranged to have plainclothes officers patrol the clerk’s office area.

“As a department head, it’s my responsibility to make sure my staff feel secure and comfortable coming to work, and I think we’re there. We have what we need,” she said.

In addition, “I don’t want to put those people who come in to get a legally provided service at risk,” Darling said.

I grew up in this rural conservative county.

Alameda County (Contra-Costa Times)

Chief Clerk-Recorder for Alameda County Kevin Hing likened today’s crush of ceremonies to a typical Valentine’s Day. Ususally on a V-Day, the clerk’s office sees a good 75 to 80 licenses and weddings. And as on a V-Day, workers in the clerk’s office have set up a little “reception” area with paper plates on a table with a silver cloth in the hallway outside the wedding rooms. They have little cupcakes and brownies ready to go for the couples after they wed.

To these and all the other county clerks that are sharing joy this week, I give my thanks.


Featured Reports

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

In this original BTB Investigation, we unveil the tragic story of Kirk Murphy, a four-year-old boy who was treated for “cross-gender disturbance” in 1970 by a young grad student by the name of George Rekers. This story is a stark reminder that there are severe and damaging consequences when therapists try to ensure that boys will be boys.

Slouching Towards Kampala: Uganda’s Deadly Embrace of Hate

When we first reported on three American anti-gay activists traveling to Kampala for a three-day conference, we had no idea that it would be the first report of a long string of events leading to a proposal to institute the death penalty for LGBT people. But that is exactly what happened. In this report, we review our collection of more than 500 posts to tell the story of one nation’s embrace of hatred toward gay people. This report will be updated continuously as events continue to unfold. Check here for the latest updates.

Paul Cameron’s World

In 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center wrote that “[Paul] Cameron’s ‘science’ echoes Nazi Germany.” What the SPLC didn”t know was Cameron doesn’t just “echo” Nazi Germany. He quoted extensively from one of the Final Solution’s architects. This puts his fascination with quarantines, mandatory tattoos, and extermination being a “plausible idea” in a whole new and deeply disturbing light.

From the Inside: Focus on the Family’s “Love Won Out”

On February 10, I attended an all-day “Love Won Out” ex-gay conference in Phoenix, put on by Focus on the Family and Exodus International. In this series of reports, I talk about what I learned there: the people who go to these conferences, the things that they hear, and what this all means for them, their families and for the rest of us.

Prologue: Why I Went To “Love Won Out”
Part 1: What’s Love Got To Do With It?
Part 2: Parents Struggle With “No Exceptions”
Part 3: A Whole New Dialect
Part 4: It Depends On How The Meaning of the Word "Change" Changes
Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"

The Heterosexual Agenda: Exposing The Myths

At last, the truth can now be told.

Using the same research methods employed by most anti-gay political pressure groups, we examine the statistics and the case studies that dispel many of the myths about heterosexuality. Download your copy today!

And don‘t miss our companion report, How To Write An Anti-Gay Tract In Fifteen Easy Steps.

Testing The Premise: Are Gays A Threat To Our Children?

Anti-gay activists often charge that gay men and women pose a threat to children. In this report, we explore the supposed connection between homosexuality and child sexual abuse, the conclusions reached by the most knowledgeable professionals in the field, and how anti-gay activists continue to ignore their findings. This has tremendous consequences, not just for gay men and women, but more importantly for the safety of all our children.

Straight From The Source: What the “Dutch Study” Really Says About Gay Couples

Anti-gay activists often cite the “Dutch Study” to claim that gay unions last only about 1½ years and that the these men have an average of eight additional partners per year outside of their steady relationship. In this report, we will take you step by step into the study to see whether the claims are true.

The FRC’s Briefs Are Showing

Tony Perkins’ Family Research Council submitted an Amicus Brief to the Maryland Court of Appeals as that court prepared to consider the issue of gay marriage. We examine just one small section of that brief to reveal the junk science and fraudulent claims of the Family “Research” Council.

Daniel Fetty Doesn’t Count

Daniel FettyThe FBI’s annual Hate Crime Statistics aren’t as complete as they ought to be, and their report for 2004 was no exception. In fact, their most recent report has quite a few glaring holes. Holes big enough for Daniel Fetty to fall through.