|3 years ago :: Apr 21, 2010 - 2:22PM #1|
A lesbian friend sent me this email today, and I wanted to help spread the word, in case it might help prevent such tragedies in the future.
Date: Wed, 21 Apr 2010 01:47:41 EDT
Subject: Elderly gay couple separated from each other & their worldly possessions
NCLR Launches Visibility Campaign to Expose Tragic Case Where Sonoma County Separated Elderly Gay Couple, Sold Off All Belongings.
Long-term partners had taken necessary steps to protect relationship in time of crisis.
OUT FOR JUSTICE: NCLR's Blog
National Center for Lesbian Rights April 19, 2010
http://nclrights. wordpress. com/2010/ 04/19/nclr-launches-visibility-campaign-to-expose-tragic-case-where-sonoma-county-separated-elderly-gay-couple-sold-off-all-belongings/
Today, NCLR launched a national media campaign to bring visibility to a tragic new case where Sonoma County, California officials separated an elderly gay couple and sold their worldly possessions despite the measures the men had taken to protect their relationship.
“In the 33 years of our organization’s history, this case is perhaps among the most tragic NCLR has ever been involved in,” said NCLR Executive Director Kate Kendell. “Clay and Harold had taken all of the necessary precautions, including living wills and powers of attorneys, to protect them in a time of crisis. Not only were their relationship and legal documents ignored, Clay and Harold literally lost everything. These appalling events demonstrate how urgently same-sex couples need full equality rather than a patchwork of rights that can be dismissed and ignored in a culture that still treats LGBT people as second-class citizens. This never should have happened to Clay and Harold.”
Clay Greene and his partner of 20 years, Harold Scull, lived in Sebastopol, California. As long-time partners, they had named each other beneficiaries of their respective estates and agents for medical decisions.
As 2008 began, Scull was 88 years old and in deteriorating health. Greene, 11 years younger, was physically strong, but beginning to show signs of cognitive impairment. As Scull’s health declined, it became apparent that they would need assistance, but the men resisted outside help.
In April of 2008, Scull fell down the front steps of their home. Greene immediately called an ambulance and Scull was taken to the hospital. There, the men’s nightmare began.
While Scull 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 Greene entirely, the County petitioned the Court for conservatorship of Scull’s estate. Outrageously referring to Greene only as a “roommate” and failing to disclose their true relationship, the County continued to treat Scull as if he had no family. The County sought immediate temporary authority to revoke Scull’s powers of attorney, to act without further notice, and to liquidate an investment account to pay for Scull’s care.
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 Greene from their home and confined him to a nursing home against his will—a different placement from his partner. Greene was kept from seeing Scull during this time, and his telephone calls were limited. Three months after Scull was hospitalized, he died, without being able to see Greene again.
“Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should had with his partner of 20 years,” said Greene’s trial attorney Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa. “Compounding this horrific 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 or his beloved cats—who are feared dead. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.”
Greene is represented by Dennis along with Stephen O’Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O’Neill, Barrack & Chong in a lawsuit against the County, the auction company, and the nursing home. NCLR is assisting Greene’s attorneys with the lawsuit. A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.
The case is Greene v. County of Sonoma et al., Case No. SPR-81815.
Learn more about NCLR’s Elder Law Project.
|3 years ago :: Apr 23, 2010 - 6:35AM #2|
No. Publicity will not prevent a repeat.
This is not old news. This woman finally has a voice, publicity is not going to help her. You might.
If you are a registered voter, start now. Write any elected official ANY elected official, and remind that person you are feeding their family and yours and address your real concerns. What are your real concerns?
If you are straight and married, no problem, right?, you got, "next of kin". This woman still does not have that right, nor do I. Mention that to your elected human.
DO NOT TAKE THAT RIGHT FOR GRANTED.
I do not want sympathy nor does this woman, she wants Equal rights.
NOW. So do I. NOW!
Imagine having to pay for all the bells and whistles of having a lawyer and all the paperwork to make everything, "real", and having it all takin' away when partner dies, because, no matter how many rules, money and paperwork, one finds out one is still not "next of kin."
Because? No Reason.
If you are straight. This is a non issue.
I am in my second relationship.
My first one ended in the, "until death do us part. " That we tried in the straight model. 14 years later. May she rest.
15 years later...
My second relationship is beginning, she had no idea, how many rights she lost simply by loving me. Over a thousand. We are in our 3rd year, She was married to a man, she really had no idea what she had and lost.
She already has a lawyer. I simply said do not bother. I do not wish to pay any more lawyers to get rights that are supposed to be FREE!
I am not next of kin, I am nothing. Legally everything I put on paper can and will be challenged, and now that she has givin up married status, she has found out the hard way what this means.
We, (many gay folk), do not get pictures in the paper announcing marriage, divorce or even death.
I am damn near 50, when do I get to be, "next of kin"? What do I have to do, be do, be, to be, "next of kin"?
All straight people have to do is lie and marry.
Next of kin.
Tell me this is not true.