Call To Action: Justice for Clay and Harold

This is gonna be a long one folks, but this story needs to be posted in it’s entirety. This is required reading, especially in light of Obama’s recent memorandum regarding hospitals. In the name of human decency, this shit needs to get right, and it needs to happen right now.

(from the National Coalition for Lesbian Rights)  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.

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life. Read more

What can you do? Help pressure the local newspaper in Sanoma County (where this all went down) to cover the story:

letters@pressdemocrat.com
The Press Democrat
427 Mendocino Ave., P. O. Box 569, Santa Rosa, CA 95402
Newsroom: (800) 675-5056
Newsroom number, 707-526-8585, between 8:30 a.m. and midnight (Pacific Time)
General newsroom fax, (including for calendar items), 707-521-5330
Newsroom mailing address: P.O. Box 910, Santa Rosa, CA 95402

Also join this facebook group to stay updated with the case. This could have happened to any one of us. What was taken from Clay and Harold can never be returned, but they deserve justice and a legacy that ensures that a travesty like this never happens again.

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