Love should be something we can hold onto all of our lives

I’ve been married for 30 years, and there’s no end in sight, fortunately. But just imagine that, in my imminent old age, I were to seriously injure myself and be hospitalized for a long period…and my wife wasn’t allowed to see me. And then it was decided that we were both so feeble and in need of care that we were put in nursing homes, for our own good…and they were separate facilities, and we were not allowed to see each other. Then, since we were obviously incompetent, our home and belongings were sold by the state to cover our costs. And finally, one of us dies…and we aren’t allowed to see each other in those final days.

That would be a nightmare. I’m pretty sure it won’t happen — oh, the dying part will, someday, but not the right to find comfort with each other. But that’s because my wife and I are acceptably heterosexual. If we were gay, it would be a completely different story.

I’m sure someone somewhere is gloating that a couple of old perverts were locked out of their sinful ways, but all I see is a tragedy of love stymied by hate.


  1. Cerberus says

    Yeah, I read that story a day or two ago. It’s horrifying, especially since they had all these legal documents to prove their connection and then the series of horrifying crimes against them that you list.

    I want to take every one of the fuckers who fought to overturn gay marriages in California and rub their noses in this. This is the beast they created. This is its cost because you don’t understand the difference between your fucking church and the secular institution of marriage.

    May you choke on the price of your hate and choke on it.

  2. Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou says

    The side of the religious right was never about love. It has always been about who can be the biggest bigot around. Why would they care if actual humans are hurt and tormented along the way.

  3. broboxley OT says

    This also happens to hetro married couples without progeny to assist. If it wasnt for my friend being caretaker of his grandparents, it would have happened. The state of alaska tried to invalidate all of the paperwork so they could seize their property. He was in court up to 6 times to stop it.

    Being legal doesnt stop the government form seeing you as a target.

  4. JediBear says

    That’s odd. I saw a tragedy of fundamental individual rights trampled by a hostile government. Marriage or no marriage, what was done here was clearly every bit as illegal as it was repugnant.

  5. llewelly says

    I want to take every one of the fuckers who fought to overturn gay marriages in California and rub their noses in this.

    That would make many of them swell with pride. They love the beast they have created. This can be seen in their rabid opposition to any hate crime legislation that mentions LGBT folk.

  6. Sisyphus says

    Cerberus: Agreed 100%.

    What happened to these men is an abomination against good. A crime against humanity and the brutal torture and murder of love and compassion.

    I’m not a vengeful person but I sincerely hope that the people who treated this poor couple like this die alone and lonely and in pain. I also hope that the people who voted to take away homosexual marriage rights look at this and squirm. They should feel very ashamed of themselves.

    Finally, to all my gay friends (in the real world and on the internet) I’m so sorry for what you go through on a daily basis.

  7. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    I am so enraged I don’t know whether to cry or cuss out loud in my office.

    How – how? – can anyone be this wicked? There are people in this world I strongly dislike, whom I find unethical and rotten, whose actions disgust me. There are a very, very few that I probably actually hate.

    But I could not ever inflict that kind of cruelty on any of them. I don’t have it in me. It’s so inhuman, I literally cannot understand people who are capable of this. That complete lack of human empathy is (and I don’t mean this in an exaggerated sense) sociopathic. And the entire system kept it going – did no one in this chain of malicious freaks pipe up anywhere along the way – from forcible separation to auctionig off their fucking property – and say this is wrong?

  8. Cerberus says


    You’re probably right.

    Can I just choke them then?

    It’s been a hard couple of days with this story and Skatje being an ignorant sexist that my choking hand has been a little twitchy.

    Rargh, I am now The Incredible Choke!

  9. Gyeong Hwa Pak, Scholar of Shen Zhou says

    Can I just choke them then?

    If you do that, they’ll claim their (non-existent) persecution.

    These people are beyond contempt.

  10. LM says

    Somehow, I’m going to guess that a lot of the people who would support this are the same ones who go nuts over universal health care, because that would mean the government is interfering with our lives and property!

    I guess that’s only a problem when the government is trying to protect people you have no connection to. If they’re harming those you dislike, everything’s cool.

  11. Cerberus says

    Josh @7

    It’s the very heart of systemic oppression. You create a system to protect the privileged classes all so important superiority and well, a natural spillover is that horrible horrible inequalities and abominations occur to the oppressed class.

    But yeah, especially the hospital, county, and county lawyers. Not a one of them has a soul worth a damn and I hope that their children spit on them and they end up bitter old men wondering why their children never call or visit and their wives left them.


  12. Capital Dan says

    I used to buy wines from Sonoma. However, in light of this, I think the less business I do with or in Sonoma County, the better.

  13. Cerberus says

    Well not that souls actually exist, but you know what I mean. They have zero morality or moral character and deeply damaged humanity.

  14. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says

    This is the FUCKING reason why so many LGBT people keep pushing for marriage equality laws.

    And fuck those inhumane assholes who keep saying that civil unions are enough. There has been too many of these stories. Harold should not have to have died by himself and Clay should have been there to provide comfort.

    Here is a short brief from Lambda Legal about the deplorable way Janice Langbehn when her partner, Lisa Pond, died while on a trip with their family. Fuck the Catholic Church, the Mormon Church, the AFA and all of the other groups that actively work to prevent people from having their rights.

  15. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Damn right, Janine. And the next person who shows up here and says “I think government should get out of the marriage business altogether and just give everyone civil unions” is going to get a ass whoopin’ of epic proportions. Don’t go there. Don’t even start to think it. Save it for when the culture has changed enough that we have the luxury to talk about it.

  16. Walton says

    I was shocked by this when someone posted it on the endless thread yesterday. I even posted a link to the story on my Facebook page this morning.

    It shows that Proposition 8, and the court decision it overturned, were not just about terminology. In a society where some communities remain profoundly homophobic, “domestic partnerships” or “civil unions” do not currently provide enough protection for the rights of same-sex couples against hostile public authorities.

  17. BoxNDox says

    I really have to wonder how much being gay had to do with it. While I haven’t encountered anything that rises to quite this level of atrocity, there have been plenty of similar cases where elderly hetero couples were denied access and/or forced into economic arrangements against their will.

    My father, grandfather, and great-grandfather were all doctors, so although I’m not a doctor myself I’ve been around medical practice all my life. (In fact for two years I spent an average of an hour every day sitting in the ER waiting for my father to finish his rounds. Carpools with doctors suck.) The freewheeling contempt for the elderly I’ve see many doctors, nurses, orderlies and so on exhibit is nothing short of appalling.

  18. Porco Dio says

    you yanks really need to start fixing your stuff…

    it’s so incredibly broken the rest of us are, frankly, not very amused.

  19. KOPD says

    If there were really such a thing as sin, this would count. This is a crime against humanity, against common sense, and against basic fucking human dignity. I am nearly speechless about this. Since I read this the other day, every time I think about it I get filled with rage. The people responsible for this have exposed themselves as both vile and it’s anagram, evil. This needs more attention, and more outrage. Share this story with everybody you know. Make them understand that a human being was forced to die alone, isolated from the person they love because they weren’t normal enough. That part is deplorable enough on its own. But add to that the way the county basically kidnapped and robbed this dying person’s partner and this ordeal makes my stomach turn. Sonoma County officials, look at yourselves and behold the face of evil.

  20. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says

    BoxNDox, the treatment of Harold and Clay goes way beyond how the doctors treated them. All of their possessions were taken away from them, their home was taken away from them and they were forced into separate nursing homes. THIS WAS BECAUSE THEY WERE A GAY COUPLE. The authorities of the county showed no respect for their relationship.

  21. Michelle R says

    Holy shit this is fucked up!

    The main question is… Just how many times does this happen? I mean, there are not just one or two gay couples on this planet! How many that we just don’t hear about?

  22. Janine, Mistress Of Foul Mouth Abuse, OM says

    Michelle R, this happens on a regular basis. Just that most do not become nation news. It has happened enough that even queers who do not have much use for marriage fight for the right, because a right not taken is a right denied.

  23. jblumenfeld says

    The time is coming. The younger generation (My kids are 17, 15 and 9) simply doesn’t see this the same way my generation did. My kids minds boggle at discrimination against gays – it’s inconceivable to them.

    I know the (religious) right is still raising young homophobes, but the vast amorphous center now sees this issue completely differently from just a few years ago.

    I am 45 and I am certain that I will see equality in my lifetime.

  24. Sili, The Unknown Virgin says

    I saw this yesterday, and I, too, am lost for words.

    “Wickedness” does indeed seem fitting.

    As the good Zeno said in response when I asked if he had any inside knowledge, I hope the county gets to “pay, pay, pay and pay”.

  25. alysonmiers says

    Somehow, I’m going to guess that a lot of the people who would support this are the same ones who go nuts over universal health care, because that would mean the government is interfering with our lives and property!

    LM beat me to it.

    There is actually a segment of the political spectrum–and a fairly sizeable segment at that–which thinks that marriage equality and other protections of sexual minorities’ dignity is an assault on “liberty” by government authority, but which also looks at cases like this and sees nothing particularly wrong.

  26. Egg Fu Laura says

    So the conservative concern for the elderly (as noted in the “death panel” debate) was a facade? Color me surprised.

  27. negentropyeater says

    BoxNDox #17,

    I really have to wonder how much being gay had to do with it.

    I doubt this would have happened if they had been married:

    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.”

    there have been plenty of similar cases where elderly hetero couples were denied access and/or forced into economic arrangements against their will.

    Are there plenty of similar cases where one of the married partners is still in good health and competent?

    Broboxley OT #3,

    This also happens to hetro married couples without progeny to assist.

    Same remark, and same question as above.

  28. ibyea says

    Holy crap, I didn’t know I could feel this horrible in a space of less than a minute.It made so angry. I don’t get how people can do that to each other and not feel sick.

  29. Matt Carpenter says

    Unreal. I grew up in Sonoma County and still find this incredible. West county is famously liberal (my hometown, Sebastopol, is entirely Green party controlled), but Santa Rosa and surroundings are quite different, big churches and family values, very NIMBY-ish. So very disappointed…..

    Hopefully the county will respond today and shed more light. I want it to not be this bad but I fear the county will make excuses and sweep it under the rug.

  30. KOPD says

    I want it to not be this bad but I fear the county will make excuses and sweep it under the rug.

    We need to pull that rug out from under them.

  31. DavidCT says

    The scenario you describe is the reason, my views on gay marriage have changed. There is simply no legal equivalent for guaranteeing equal rights to gay people who care about one another.

  32. Shala says

    I am so enraged I don’t know whether to cry or cuss out loud in my office.

    I’m doing the former myself. This is just unbelievable. How can people do this?

  33. Josh, Official SpokesGay says


    The scenario you describe is the reason, my views on gay marriage have changed.

    I’m glad to hear that, but very curious why you formerly believed gays shouldn’t be able to marry.

  34. kellybyer says

    THIS is EXACTLY the argument I use to those who are against gay marriage.

    I ask them how they would feel if they were denied access to a loved one in a hospital, if they were denied input into decisions about care, into decisions about funerals, etc.

    And their response, 100% to date, is “that doesn’t happen”.

    Unfortunately, we now have proof that is DOES happen.

  35. Walton says

    I’m not sure whether I should tolerate fundies anymore, to be honest.

    What do you mean? :-/

  36. broboxley OT says

    @kellybyer #36 happens to all people who are powerless, gay, native american people of color, regular folks when the machine gets involved

  37. tutone21 says

    This is tragic. I have never understood the idea of imposing beliefs/ethics on another person if it does not influence your life. I am not homosexual, but if others are then what business is it of mine (or anyone else!)? Furthermore, how does someone being homosexual diminish the quality of life for others? Plainly, it doesn’t.

    I agree with jblumenfeld@24. I have heard far less about hate crimes against homosexuals (though I am sure they still occur more frequently than I would like) and know far more openly gay people today than I did 10 years ago. Once the McCaininites are out of power I believe there will be a strong shift for personal liberties for all!

  38. Gregory Greenwood says

    Take a good look everybody. This bigoted, homophobic abomination is the true measure of christian ‘morality’.

    In the wake of this, it is hard to credit that there are still theists who have the gall to claim that all moral behaviour flows from their fantasy of a god.

    If its not raping children its abusing those among us who love ‘improperly’, and yet the bitter irony of this state of affairs is doubtles lost on pious morons everywhere.

    Stories like this have long since convinced me that religious belief is a form of collective delusion that the world would be far better off without.

  39. Ariel from Canada says

    Sometimes I wish I lived in the States just so I could vote against the horrifying laws that make this kind of thing possible.

    As it is, with Stephen Harper in government every vote counts in Canada to keep our equality in place. He would throw us into the dark ages at the first possible moment if he thought he could get away with it.

  40. negentropyeater says

    broboxley #39,

    I see that you are still following the line that this also happens to “regular folks” (I guess heterosexual married couples). I suppose that’s an incidious way to argue that legalizing gay marriage wouldn’t change this.

    But I note you still haven’t answered my question nor noticed my remark to you at #29.

    I have currently no patience for this.

  41. says

    This is sad. This is tragic. Ordinary individuals whose life is broken by heartless bureaucrats : this looks just like something out of a Kafka novel. People, here’s what “say no to gay marriage” leads to.

  42. Dae says

    I feel like throwing up. I will also cite this case to anyone I hear give the mistaken argument that “gays get the same rights, why are they so upset about the marriage thing?” I live right smack in the middle of the bible belt, and while I run into a lot less blatant homophobia than one might imagine, there are legions of people who think they’re being open-minded by not openly expressing hatred for homosexuality, and live in the happy delusion that this sort of abuse doesn’t occur.

  43. BoxNDox says

    Janine @#20 – please reread my original post; nowhere did I say that this sort of appalling behavior towards the elderly is restricted to doctors. In fact I said exactly the opposite, although I will say that doctors have a way of putting their own uniquely arrogant spin on this sort of thing.

    As for whether or not it was exacerbated by their being gay, I never said it wasn’t possible that it was, only that I wondered if it wasn’t. OTOH, if there is any evidence to support such a conclusion, I for one have not seen it. Have you?

    negentropyeater @#29 – the answer is yes, there are plenty of similar cases involving hetero couples. If you believe otherwise you need to spend some time as an observer in assorted nursing homes, critical care facilities, and hospitals. I have done this, and it is not a pretty picture. I’ve seen parents and spouses fight the system to obtain better care for their loved ones, and in many cases lose. In one of these cases the person in question was covered in bedsores and literally wallowing in their own feces. Fortunately the spouse won that one – but only after a lot of needless suffering had occurred.

  44. negentropyeater says

    I’m not sure whether I should tolerate fundies anymore, to be honest.

    Fundies? You mean inhumane people. I’m quite sure many of the people involved in this malicious chain of decisions who didn’t even stop to wonder whether what they were doing was wrong weren’t fundies. Just pathetic uncaring people who really don’t give a damn about what happens to teh Gays.

    And I can tell you for having personally lived heartbraking experiences because of my long term homosexual relationship that most of them weren’t fundies. Unfortunately not. People who just don’t give a fuck. That’s what hurts the most.

  45. broboxley OT says

    @negentropyeater #44 anecdotally I have. Dont have time to do search for cites but will try to find some later that will address that issue. Native american families are often hit by this, not the selling of posessions as much as married couples forcibly separated when one gets ill for years. My father in law was separated from my mother in law for 3 years because he was ill. The moved him to a place several hundred miles away with no method or offers to help her see him. She was healthy and mentally sound when they did this as well as legally and religiously married

  46. negentropyeater says


    negentropyeater @#29 – the answer is yes, there are plenty of similar cases involving hetero couples.

    You mean sililar cases where the administration continued to treat the sick married partner like he had no family when the spouse was still healthy and represented to the court that his/her spouse was merely his/her “roommate.”?

  47. sfbeckman says

    This makes me so sad and angry. I grew up in Sonoma County, and couldn’t have imagined that people in such a generally liberal and accepting area could be so hateful and intolerant. I guess it shows that all of the “No on 8” bumper stickers don’t matter much if the people in power are greedy, bigoted assholes. I plan to contact the director of Adult & Aging Services for the county to express my outrage. The Public Guardian/Public Conservator (named in the lawsuit) has a phone number published on the county website as well. They shouldn’t be able to sweep this under the rug.

  48. kellybyer says

    @ Broxley #39:
    “native american people of color, regular folks ”

    Hrmm, and here I thought those people had the right to marry whom they choose, given they are not same sex.

    I thought they had the right to information, the right to make medical decisions, to make decisions, to be kept in the loop.

    All the things people in “civil unions” have to fight for.

    Pointing a finger and saying “but it happens to them too” doesn’t excuse hatred and prejudice.

    I will NEVER understand the argument against gay marriage. Never.

  49. Victor says

    The religious right that back such disgusting practices, are not about love. They are about causing suffering to those not of their “in group”. What other type of person would not only accept but worship a god concept that sends people to hell for eternal torture? They are a wicked and evil people that only desire to make others suffer.

  50. ashleyfmiller says

    I posted about this over the weekend and I think the blame can essentially be left at the feet of the Mormon and Catholic churches who underwrote the Yes on 8 campaign.

    Some wishy-washy bint had the nerve to come on and say that I shouldn’t say I hated people who voted yes on 8, because hate wasn’t very nice.

    I just don’t understand this feeling some people espouse that all opinions are worthy of respect and cordiality. If someone wants to take away an entire group of people’s rights because their invisible pink unicorn said so, why should I treat them like thinking adults worthy of consideration? It’s just so unfathomable to me.

    And I have yet to find a non-religious person with a problem with gay marriage — though I see a lot of religious people trying to come up with secular arguments.

  51. negentropyeater says

    broboxley #49 (and same question to BoxNdox #47),

    so are you suggesting that legalizing gay marriage wouldn’t significantly reduce the likelihood of this kind of misery from happening to homosexual couples?

  52. broboxley OT says

    @negentropy #44 here is one case, no gay involved (assumption there)

    fully agree with your assessment at #48

  53. somewhereingreece says

    Poor Clay and Harold. This is so horrible and inhumane and so wrong on so many levels.

  54. negentropyeater says

    broboxley #58,

    how is that a similar case involving a married couple where one of the partners is still healthy and competent? The guy involved Tate wasn’t even married, nor in a relationship with anyone.

    If you are trying to suggest that there are plenty of cases where regular folks have awful problems because of an incompetent administration or courts, I think that’s fairly obvious.

    But that’s no evidence that there are plenty of cases where heterosexual married couples go through similar miseries as Harrold and Clay where one of the partners was still healthy and competent…

    Do you think if Harrold and Clay had been married they would still have had to endure this?

  55. BoxNDox says

    #50 – Yep, that’s exactly what I mean. It is quite common to dismiss the elderly as incompetent and/or hysterical when they are nothing of the sort.

    Really, you folks seriously underestimate the amount of abuse of the elderly that occurs on a regular basis. And how difficult it is for families and spouses to stop it, especially when those family members or spouses are also elderly.

    Now as for whether or not marriage would have helped, in this particular case I doubt that it would have. If the stories are accurate, the authorities here were perfectly willing to ignore a pile of legal documents; there is no indication that one more would have made a difference.

    More generally, however, there are lots of situations for couples where being married would make all the difference in the world. The lack of marriage equality is an appalling social injustice irrespective of the role it did or didn’t play in this case. And if this case becomes a rallying cry to help get Prop 8 overturned, great.

  56. broboxley OT says

    @negentropyeater #49 do you think that an extra peice of paper with on top of the powers of attorneys, contracts, medical charges a marriage licence would have stopped that uncaring asshole that did it?

    As to gay marriage I dont object to gay people being married and having that marriage recognized by the state of equal value to any other marriage with no marriage having precedence over another.

    I do object to marriage, an emotional commitment usually religious in nature being a right to be conferred only by a government.

    and as usual I am deep in the minority on this.

  57. DaveWTC says

    @#42 Poggy. Thanks for the Facebook link. There are lots of good contact addresses there. Commenting here is fine but I hope this stalwart group will also make some serious noise where it’ll do some good.

  58. Jadehawk, OM says

    negs, broboxley is trying a libertarian argument about how it’s all because there’s a government, and it dies stuff. if there wasn’t a government, then harold and clay wouldn’t have been treated like that.

    anyway, I think I’m temporarily out of “AAARRRGGHHH!!!”. I mean, I had plenty when I first read the story the other day, but I think yesterday has depleted my supplies. Now I’m just kind of numb.

  59. Ordeneus says

    Wow, that’s freaking sickening.

    I’m kinda torn on whether their being gay or straight made much difference. One should never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity…

    As a general rule though, I still don’t see the issue with gay people marrying, but I do live in the socialist haven of Canada eh? Wanna get married here? Sure, have at it, and ooh lookit, society didn’t collapse! As Canadians give a great big group, “meh”!

  60. Steven Mading says

    Note how the government was willing to honor the gay couple’s legal agreements they wrote up to try to approximate marriage when it came to their joint ownership of property – so that all property in the house (and the house itself), even the property originally bought by the healthy partner was seized to pay for the medical costs of the injured partner – hey everything in the house was owned jointly, right? While this is harsh, that *is* one of the consequences of joint ownership. Joint ownership also means joint liability for debts, so taken in isolation that would be grudgingly acceptable… if it weren’t for the fact that the government was not willing to honor the gay couple’s legal agreements they wrote up to try to approximate marriage when it came to next of kin visitation rights and medical decision making.

    In other words – We, the government, will treat you like a couple when it benefits US, but not when it benefits YOU.


  61. Steven Mading says

    I do object to marriage, an emotional commitment usually religious in nature being a right to be conferred only by a government.

    By your own words, you said marriage is “usually”, rather than “always” religious in nature. So under what circumstances did you think a marriage is not religious in nature and yet still also not granted by government either. What falls into that category? Which cases of marriage are you talking about that are conferred by neither religion nor the government?

    “By the power invested in me by… uhhh… my cousin vinnie I guess… I now declare you man and wife… not that this means anything since I’m not an authority of any kind and therefore my claiming such confers no real status on you of any kind.”

  62. MrFire says

    and as usual I am deep in the minority on this.

    Because you’re derailing the thread with libertarian apologetics, broboxley. They don’t belong here.

  63. Galahad Threepwood says

    I can’t understand the impulse that motivates some people in this country to mistreat gays and lesbians. Whatever our feelings and beliefs may be, we have a fundamental responsibility to treat other human beings with respect and dignity. Why can’t these people see this? How can they be so cruel and callous to these men and women, just because of they’re attracted to members of their own sex? I’m glad that kids today are much less inclined to discriminate against homosexuals…it gives me some hope that this vestigial idiocy will eventually dwindle and die.

  64. v.rosenzweig says


    In other words, because I’m not religious, you object to my marriage being recognized by the government? Are you arguing that only religious people should get the legal benefits of marriage? Or is it okay for us unbelievers to find some random priest or rabbi or witch who is willing to marry nonbelievers?

    Here and now, I can make any emotional commitment I want. If I and the other person or people involved want, we can have some kind of religious ritual to mark it. Or we can mark it with an entirely secular picnic or boat ride or dance party or bridge tournament.

    But only some of those commitments will be recognized legally as giving us reciprocal rights and responsibilities. The problem isn’t that there are too many ways to mutually accept and choose that connection and have it recognized. That is, to have it recognized that if I am unable to make my own decisions, this person I selected is better situated to do so than a random government employee, or a second cousin I’ve met a few times. Or even than my perfectly harmless brother who doesn’t know me very well.

    The problem is that there are too few. You won’t fix that by taking one away.


  65. negentropyeater says


    It is quite common to dismiss the elderly as incompetent and/or hysterical when they are nothing of the sort.

    But dismissing an elderly for being incompetent and/or hysterical isn’t the same thing as dismissing him for not having any family relationship and simply being his roommate.

    Now as for whether or not marriage would have helped, in this particular case I doubt that it would have. If the stories are accurate, the authorities here were perfectly willing to ignore a pile of legal documents; there is no indication that one more would have made a difference.

    It’s not just “one more document”, it’s the one document which would have very likely prevented this to happen. It’s the one document where the state recognizes the relationship and the rights this confers. Wills, powers of attorney, etc… aren’t nearly equivallent.

    It’s much easier to dismiss someone for having no legally recognized relationship than for being incompetent when he is not. The former happens all the time to us homosexuals, it happened to all the friends I have who were in similar situations. A friend of mine just died a month ago, and his partner of 15 years was also told that he was just his “roommate”. Thank FSM, the latter doesn’t happen to a large percentage of heterosexual married couples.

  66. says

    Sadly, even here in California, we have narrow-minded individuals who follow the rules of incompetent, fear-mongering, “do as I say, or else”, hateful deity.

  67. broboxley OT says

    @Steven Mading #67 after 20 or 30 years arguing sometimes amiably with atheists I know who are married I now say usually as theirs is the odd exception.

    What is a marital status? does that deter those who wish to break into the trophy wife?

    Currently cousin vinnie with $5 can be a pastor and can legally preform marriages by state rules. My friend Ash in california does exactly that. This majik power conferred from on high in Sacremento is just some much pixie dust no different from a church wedding except the WTF why bother?

  68. negentropyeater says


    @negentropyeater #49 do you think that an extra peice of paper with on top of the powers of attorneys, contracts, medical charges a marriage licence would have stopped that uncaring asshole that did it?

    Yes, that one piece of piece ofpaper would have very likely prevented this. See my answer above #71.
    And I’d be very happy if I could get that piece of paper to protect me and my partner from going through the same kind of misery when one of us two gets sick and/or dies.

    But you probably don’t give a damn, it’s only the question of an intellectual argument on a blog about how to reduce the powers of the state.

  69. Psychodigger says

    BASTARDS! Apologies for the capitals, but such outrage warrants them, I feel.

  70. SteveM says

    I do object to marriage, an emotional commitment usually religious in nature being a right to be conferred only by a government.

    I cannot figure out what this even means. People make “emotional commitments” with or without the government all the time. Government is the only institution that can protect (and grant) the legal privileges associated with that commitment. What does it mean to object to marriage being a right that can only be granted by a government? Who or what else can do so? And no matter how “religious” we consider the commitment, it is government that has to protect that commitment, both its privileges and responsibilities.

  71. v.rosenzweig says


    What does the question “does that deter those who wish to break into the trophy wife?” have to do with this? We aren’t, or weren’t, arguing about adultery. The question isn’t whether my husband owns me—he doesn’t, and I don’t own him, and neither of us is a car or house to be “broken into”—it’s whether our relationship is recognized as real in the same way that my relationships to my mother and brother are recognized as real.

    (If marriage magically prevented sex with other people, there wouldn’t be so many rules about “adultery”—they would be as unnecessary as “thou shalt not breathe water instead of air.” Even for people who are actually monogamous, marriage is about a lot more than sexual exclusivity.

    If you really don’t see why bother getting married without theological pixie dust, go back and reread the story that started this thread. And if you still don’t see, nobody is forcing you to get married, or to stay married if you already are. But why do you want to get in the way of people who do want to?

  72. Anodyne says

    I don’t doubt for one minute that this happens to many elderly people, gay or otherwise. I can’t think of anything more disgusting than these types of abuses. (but there are other things that tie for first place)

    From (emphasis mine)

    First, county and health care workers refused to allow Clay to see Harold. Then, while Harold 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 Clay entirely, the County focused on Harold, going so far as to petition the Court for conservatorship of his estate. Outrageously referring to Clay only as a “roommate” and failing to disclose their true relationship, the County continued to treat Harold as if he had no family. The County sought immediate temporary authority to revoke Harold’s powers of attorney, to act without further notice, and to liquidate an investment account to pay for his 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.

    While I don’t doubt for a femtosecond that the county’s predation on this poor couple was hastened by the fact they were not heterosexual, I’m willing to bet large sums of money that this is in no way limited to individuals in homosexual relationships. Neither man had family to take care of their estates, etc. If there’s no family to witness the absolutely repugnant actions taken by the county, there’s no one to prosecute the county and they will take anything and everything they possibly can. This is how government operates. The only thing that will ever stop their ruthless pursuit of money and power is the loss of a lawsuit (and the consequences that go with it). When there’s no one to watch you break the rules, there’s reason to play by them.

    That being said, I hope this gentleman’s lawyers bludgeon those responsible with their lawsuit. This kind of bullshit foments rage from every fiber of my being. We have egregious abuses like these going on all the time, and people still can’t get it through their fucking heads that equal rights means EQUAL rights for EVERYONE.

    This kind of stuff makes me want to sob (and does. I’m at work, trying to fight back the misty eyes…) I don’t understand why things are this way. Why can’t people recognize that we’re all bleeding fucking people that have very real feelings, and that the validity and depth of those feelings is not diminished when the person in question does something with their penis/vagina/mouth/et al. that said stupid bigoted people do not approve of??

    Is it too much to ask that I be able to fuck who I want, how I want, and not have the government in turn fuck me back?

    I hope that as details emerge, more and more people who have quietly dissented will say enough is enough and become vocal LGBT activists (we could use a few more advocates for the elderly as well). This is absolutely unacceptable. For those that support the LGBT cause in spirit, but do nothing more, you may as well be on the other side. PLEASE speak up. Donate money and/or time to reputable LGBT organizations. Create activism where there is none in place. Just do something.

  73. Anodyne says

    (and sorry if any of this was stated earlier in the thread… I started typing a while back and got interrupted with work for a while)

  74. BoxNDox says

    I should add that I also have first hand experience with this issue from another vantage point. For several years I volunteered with one of the local AIDS support groups. Now, the way the system there worked is that you end up assigned to help one person at a time who is living with AIDS. However, part of the deal is that you’re required to meet regularly with other volunteers doing the same thing. So you get to hear about a lot of other cases in considerable detail.

    I take confidentiality rules pretty seriously, so I cannot talk about any of this in much detail. What I can say is that skirmishes with various aspects of the health care system were a regular part of the job – mostly a result of bureaucratic bumbling, but also a fair amount of blatant nastiness.

    But even in this context, the differences in the treatment of elderly versus non-elderly AIDS sufferers were striking. And this was true even though AIDS dementia isn’t exactly restricted to the elderly.

    But regardless of the underlying reasons, I sincerely hope the settlement in the present case set new records for punitive damages.

  75. Molly, NYC says

    On inspection, this may not have been about these men being gay so much as about them a couple of vulnerable old guys who looked like easy pickings for estate thieves. (You do not, for example, expect anyone to treat David Geffen this way.)

    The complaint (pdf) includes as a defendant Sally Liedholm, who apparently has some history of permitting the hollowing-out of estates under her guardianship; and around paragraphs 35-36, there are rather specific suggestions that when the old guys’ stuff was removed, some of it landed in the homes of the defendants or people who worked for them.

  76. Caine, Fleur du mal says

    Josh, OSG @ 7:

    I literally cannot understand people who are capable of this. That complete lack of human empathy is (and I don’t mean this in an exaggerated sense) sociopathic. And the entire system kept it going – did no one in this chain of malicious freaks pipe up anywhere along the way – from forcible separation to auctionig off their fucking property – and say this is wrong?

    ^This. Ten times over. That this happened makes me feel deeply ashamed I live in a place where no one even bothers to blink over such a travesty. Damn. I have no words.

  77. evergreenotter says

    This is truly the most disturbing abuse of civil rights in America I have ever read about in the post-desegregation era. This deserve criminal prosecution.

  78. iDodd says

    Back in the 60s my great aunt had been with her partner, a woman 15 years her junior, for many years when she legally adopted her as her daughter. When my great aunt died in the early 70s there was some scramble by officials in the small California town they lived in to claim her possessions, but when her partner’s legal status as her “daughter” was made public, they backed off immediately and the younger partner lived comfortably for another several years.

  79. aratina cage says

    It is totally horrific that this was done, but the forced separation of gay families happens all the time in the United States. It is the norm and reality. Don’t think for a second that this doesn’t hit home for some of us. Equality cannot come soon enough.

  80. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Quick update: I have a call in to National Center for Lesbian Rights to find out the best way to help Mr. Greene (the widowed man) in case he’s in need of personal financial assistance. Am doing more research and will check back in later. I spoke to the secretary for one of the law firms representing him, and she related that what happened to this poor couple is far, far worse than you could imagine from reading the press release.

    I’ve only just skimmed the actual complaint, and I can’t take anymore without a drink. Bureaucrats laughing at Mr. Green for being a “queer” when we has grieving his husband’s death. . .

  81. MadScientist says

    I hope the guy survives and wins the case. If it were me there’d be a lot of dead people around (and I’d probably be shot to pieces by the SWAT). I would be in a justifiable killing mood if people tried to march in and steal all my stuff – that’s a home invasion.

  82. mmelliott01 says

    PZ, thank you for picking up on this.

    Whether this is only about gays or not, it is clear that the same kind of thing could happen to me and my partner. All the documentation in the world means nothing if no one cares to honor it.

  83. Steven Mading says

    @broboxley OT: Your decision to avoid answering the question has been noted. You claimed that marriage is only “usually” a religious matter, and then also claimed the government has no business being involved in it. A basic simple bit of logic and a little use of some Venn diagrams would show you that this means you claim there is such a thing as some marriages that are not a religious matter (the exceptions to your “usually”). And yet you want the government not to be involved at all. Okay fine, then give an example of what that sort of marriage would be or you’re not making any sense. What is this form of marriage that would be real in the sense that it actually exists as a recognized official status and isn’t just in someone’s imagination, and yet was not sanctioned by a church nor by a government, that you seem to think is possible? You didn’t answer that question at all.

  84. Matalius says


    All that hope I had after reading Kelly’s essay last week is now gone. Or at least most of it.

    How the fuck can someone treat other human beings like that? And Christians think they’re being MORAL?! Seriously, did it not cross their fucking minds that this is one of the worst things that you can do to a person? Taking away the person you love the most must be horrendously painful. It must be. I can’t wait until we (or, more accurately, you) kick these assholes out of the government.

    Oh, and please tell me these sociopaths can be prosecuted. I think I’ll start breaking stuff if they can get away with this.

  85. Cerberus says

    Matalius @90

    For the ones whose consciences flicker a dying ember through the sheets of hate and learned bigotry, they rationalize it by creating a category in their mind for gay relationships as deluded close friendships.

    No, really.

    A quote from NJ Assemblyman Michael Carroll:

    I see no purpose in extending a societal imprimatur – and not insubstantial benefits – to folks whose relationships are of essentially no societal consequence. Taxpayers should not be in the business of subsidizing friendships, however close. Only when people enter into a relationship which presumptively involves the bearing and rearing of children does society have an interest in that relationship.

    But these are the obviously deranged views of those who can’t seem to fully deal with the mental dissonance between their views of themselves as moral good people and the horrors they support against the queer community.

    It is amazing to me sometimes that so many will chose hate so easily, will break their minds, any love they may have for family, any morality they have for petty reasons of bigotry or religion.

    But rather not. Every year is a step further out of the swamp, fewer people falling prey to what the last generation considered acceptable as casual bigotry and climbing one step further to full equality. All these battles, they won’t finish in any of our lifetimes, but we will see life improve dramatically for all if we keep fighting.

    Things like this, are currently the norm. In the past, they most assuredly did worse (a mere gay rumor could be used as an excuse to arrest a disliked person and steal their stuff in this manner). If we fight, this will be blocked and they’ll have to retreat another battle line screaming about reverse discrimination the whole way, just like every other fight.

    But we will fight and we will gain, and we will win. Piece by piece, step by step. Tomorrow always slightly better than today.


  86. Butch Pansy says

    This is not an isolated incident or the only manifestation of the cruelty that second-class citizenship bestows upon gay people. Equally heinous is the situation Americans in love with foreign nationals find themselves in: visas are denied, immigration is refused, the parentage of children is disputed, medical status is used as a weapon (when is the last time you heard of a straight person being denied entrance into the country for so much as a shopping trip because they were HIV+ ?).

    If it weren’t for the insulation of being surrounded by people who love me and the obvious support of rational people like those who participate in this godless forum I don’t know if I could bear it. It is particularly chilling that I live in Sonoma County, as do many gay people; it’s only a short freeway hop to San Francisco, but sometimes it feels like the ends of the civilized Earth.

    Thanks for being a voice of reason in this benighted country.

  87. ambook says

    Well, I for one feel so much better in my heterosexual marriage. Seeing elderly men treated so brutally definitely makes my marriage stronger. (Major serious sarcasm!)

    I am so tired of listening to Catholics and others yammer about how treating gay relationships with respect or offering gay partners health insurance or generally behaving like human beings threatens the integrity of their heterosexual marriages. Perhaps their sex lives and families are just extra fragile, what with all the priestly fondling and all.

    What a crock. Josh – please keep us informed about what we can do.

  88. chaseacross says

    Gotta’ love the Stranger, and Dan Savage in particular. I just signed up on this site. Does Meyers have any acquaintance with Dan Savage, or does he just follow the Stranger blog pages for news of fresh outrages by America’s fundies?

    When I found this story, and read further and further into the ongoing persecution, I couldn’t help but think of that one Simpsons episode based on The Shining.

    “Urge to kill… rising…”

  89. KillJoy says

    I am ashamed to admit that I used to be one of those ‘civil unions would be just fine with me thank you!’ guys. My mind was changed by one of my friends who just happens to be one of the most open minded and awesome straight boys I have ever ran into. And he used examples similar to this one, among other things, in order to sway my opinion.

    I’m horrified and saddened. And cant help but think of how easily this could happen to me in 30 or 40 years time if something doesn’t change. As horribly selfish as that sounds, sometimes it takes that blunt trauma upside the head to wake people up. And I think that’s part of the problem with all of the fence sitters on this issue. The people who ‘support in spirit’ as was mentioned some where in an earlier post. It’s not going to happen to ME so why should I bother?

    At any rate I’m just rambling now. I’ll get back to work. And by ‘work’ i mean ‘buying tattooing supplies on the internet. Aren’t you glad I’m not YOUR employee? :P


  90. KillJoy says

    Yikes. I should really learn to preview before I hit ‘Submit’. :( Multiple typos.


  91. broboxley OT says

    @v.rosenzweig #77 who is in the way? Should marriage between 2 men, two women or man woman or man women or woman men be any of my personal business? I dont think so, I dont live with them why should I care.

    They should all be recognized equally by the government. With the protection of all parties being extended by the government as a matter of being civilized.

    After some of the other posts going into more detail this marriage was targeted by thieves with government collusion.

    If some folks think that having a marriage license duly stamped by a bureaucrat may have stopped this I can think of a dozen ways those venal pieces of garbage could have gotten around this.

    I saw the government of alaska be manipulated because one nursing home wanted to strip my friends grandmother of her stuff. I testified in court a few times to address precisely that. My friend prevailed because he was younger just as insistent as the thieves.

    My view when I got married was pissed off that the State wanted $50 for a license. I told the religious operator fuck them, its between My beliefs and the hoops you want me to jump thru to consider her beliefs.

    As it was the license was delayed because we were race mixing, an officious little prick wanted us to have an interview before they would issue it. I calmly told him that if I had to fly into town to do that and miss the wedding he would be an extremely unhappy civil servant.

    The religious operator wouldnt proceed without the states stamp of approval. Well fuck the state. Its none of their business. The license was issued but to me the wedding was not until the correct hoops were jumped thru.

    We need a method to protect an individual’s family as clearly defined by the individual in a much better method than we currently do.

    Gay and all non traditional families need to be treated equally by the rest of the citizenry. I dont think marriage is the method, I think that marriage should not be state owned and a simple family registration should take place instead. If I want you on my health Insurance I fill out a form. If I want you (and you want me) in my immediate family, fill out a form and record it. That way anyone in the family can act on behalf of any other member and the government must respect it.

    dunno how else to put it.

  92. rtburleigh says

    Believe it or not, their treatment is probably a violation of Proposition 8! When the court upheld Prop 8 they declared that same sex couples have equal rights to married couples. They said “separate but equal” was now guaranteed by the constitution. This story is just one of a thousand ways in which gay couples are not treated equally, and the courts should be flooded with law suits demanding that the state supreme court’s ruling be enforced. Every one of the county officials in this story should be charged with violating the state constitution. The state and every business in the state should be sued to remove “marital status” from all forms (esp. tax forms) since civil unions cannot be a subset of marital status if they are separate but equal. Every city or business that requires gay employees to provide more documentation than married couples to get benefits for their partners should be sued. Schools should be sued to include same sex partners in every book that discusses marriage since they are equal under the constitution. Every court in the state should have suits demanding full implementation of the constitutional requirement that gay couples be treated equally.

  93. ambulocetacean says

    ashleyfmiller #55,

    And I have yet to find a non-religious person with a problem with gay marriage — though I see a lot of religious people trying to come up with secular arguments.

    Yeah. The one I’ve seen bigots link to most often is this disingenuous drivel. I enjoy pointing out that the author, Adam Kolasinski, is something of a culture warrior within the Catholic church. He’s against Vatican II, so you can hardly expect him to be for anything else.

  94. Ing says

    “And I have yet to find a non-religious person with a problem with gay marriage — though I see a lot of religious people trying to come up with secular arguments. ”

    You havn’t encoutnered these people? There are a TON of loud, stupid, insane homophobic atheists. Listening to them is like listening to a very very nasty computer fail it’s Turing test.

    “Charlie Check’m September 7 at 11:03pm

    I am against gays because their brain malfunctions are causing them to have an agenda that I don’t approve of. What is their agenda? They want to use gay marriage to help homosexuality appeal to the masses. They want to appeal to the masses because the more people accept their lifestyle, they figure their same sex mating opportunities would increase. Ex. The more anti-gay people exist, their same sex mating opportunities decreases. The same scenerio can be applied to fat women. Fat women have started “Plus Size” clothing line, “Plus Size” beauty pagents, put out movies, all for the sake of appealing to the masses. Fat women and gays want to be accepted by more people because it’s better for their love life and their mating opportunities would increase. If a faggot is attracted to a straight man, the faggot would have a better chance of getting close to the straight man IF the straight man is gay friendly. A gay predator would try you before he tries me. My blogs have several quotes of gay people trying to seduce straights. THAT’S WHAT IT’S REALLY ABOUT. Blacks are defined by having shared dna and history. GAYS ARE DEFINED BY THEIR TWISTED SEXUAL ATTRACTION AND BEHAVIOR . You’re being racist towards blacks by comparing us to faggots and dykes. How in the fuck could you compare skin color to twisted brains (brain malfunctions)? I know most faggots and dykes were born fucked up but society shouldn’t bend for homos because they have the fuckin wrong brain functions. You fucking pro-faggot Atheists can see that God is fake but you can’t see that WHEN A MAN GETS A HARD DICK FROM LOOKING AT ANOTHER MAN, HE IS FUCKING CRAZY. If you think gays are so cool, why don’t you let one of them fuck you in the ass.”

    Yeah..they exist and are nuttier than a fruitcake made only out of delicious nuts…

  95. BoxNDox says

    Anything less than the right to an actual marriage – and this includes civil unions with fully equivalent rights – won’t cut it because the term “marriage” carries legal connotations in other jurisdictions that “civil union” doesn’t.

    I suppose it is theoretically possible to craft some tricky legalese that says a California civil
    union is the legal equivalent of a marriage elsewhere, but that seems more than a little silly just to avoid using a word.

    And I don’t give a rat’s ass about how this interferes with the right of religious institutions to determine what they call marriage. Nobody is talking about forcing churches to marry anyone who walks in the door, although I admit I kind of like some of the images it conjures up.

  96. ambulocetacean says


    That’s some serious hateful crazy there, but I don’t know that it qualifies as a “secular argument”. It seems more like simple fear, disgust and ignorance.

  97. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Update (or lack thereof):

    I’m still waiting for a call/email from the National Center for Lesbian Rights to find out exactly the best way to help (besides donating to them, which I’m going to do). I’m particularly concerned to find out if Clay Greene needs financial help (you know, since the fucking county stole all his property and money and kicked him out of his house), and if there’s some fund set up for that.

    I’m sure the NCLR is up to their ears, so I’m not surprised I haven’t heard back immediately.

  98. renaissanceblonde says

    I have no words to articulate the rage that I felt at reading that story.

    What, in the name of whatever deity you profess to believe in or not, gives you the right to deny two lifelong lovers the right to each others’ company in their dying days, strip away their precious belongings, and reduce their relationship to ‘room mates’?

    Nothing. It is my sincerest hope that the fossils eventually die out and sanity prevails in society.

    It’s enough to make me wish that religion was illegal… and I’m an eclectic pagan.

  99. azumahazuki says

    This…I do not have the words for this. Hopefully by the time my girlfriend and I are that old this will be a relic of the past, like segregation in the 50s.

    Bastards. The only justification that’s needed to get rid of laws like this is plain old empathy. What happened to the Golden Rule, huh, Christians?!

  100. Timberwoof says

    The defense lawyer says it’s all about domestic violence:

    A lawyer for Sonoma County denied the allegations, saying the two men were kept apart as part of a domestic violence case.

    Greg Spaulding, who represents past and present county employees named in the lawsuit, said Scull was hospitalized after he was attacked by Greene and their belongings were sold to cover expenses for their care.

    “When the facts come out, the story that’s being thrown out will be found inaccurate in a number of respects,” Spaulding said. “The case came to the public guardian when Scull reported he had been assaulted by Clay Greene. … This is not about gay rights. It’s about domestic violence,” Spaulding said.

    If this really was a case of domestic violence, that explanation begs some questions. First, why did the county sell the victim’s property? Second, why did they stick the alleged abuser in a rest home and not jail? Third, they’re alleging that the guy they allege did the abuse could not take care of himself? Fourth, why is the lawyer talking about it? Fifth, I thought they did away with the practice of selling defendants’ assets to cover their defense along with witch trials?

    Whatever happened, some smelly fish will be revealed at the trial.

    Ing, I really wish you had used blockquotes. I was about to offer you a nice hot cup of STFU when I realized you were quoting someone else. Boy, I almost stepped on my tail with that!

    azumahazuki, it’s my experience that good Christians see gays as sub-human, and thus don’t believe that equal rules such as the Goden one apply to us. When we want what we call equal rights, Christians see us as demanding things we don’t deserve, thus the “special rights” meme.

    (I stand ready to be proved wrong by a Christian who declares that the rights I want are not special and admits that all along Christians have been lying whenever they said “special rights”.)

  101. Pygmy Loris says

    Damn. This is utter bullshit! I have too many progressive friends who think that LGBT rights should take a back burner to “more pressing” economic issues, and this is why I think they’re wrong. Equality and dignity should never take a back seat.

    Ing, how did you find such awful crap? I nearly lost my lunch reading that.

  102. Timberwoof says

    PL, tell your friend that civil rights issues are “more pressing” economic issues. The reason that people’s civil rights get infringed is so that they have less ability to participate in economic equality. The black civil rights movement was all about blacks having been economically repressed. And the case in Sonoma county is about people stealing valuable property from people made helpless.

    It is all about economics. Four of the arguments used by Colorado for Family Values to justify their infamous Amendment 2 of 1992 were that …

    * there are so many gay people that it’s too expensive to protect their civil rights

    * there are so few gay people that it doesn’t matter whether their civil rights are protected

    * gay people are so rich that they don’t need civil rights

    * gay people are typically destitute and thus don’t deserve civil rights

    All of these were written up in the same CFV propaganda sheets. Yes, they contradict one another. Yes, they contradict Protestant and Christian values. But they feel good in the wallet.