A Missouri man was arrested and served with a restraining order after he refused to leave the bedside of his ailing partner.
Roger Gorley (far right) of Lee’s Summit went to visit his husband, Allen, at Research Medical Center on Tuesday afternoon. When he got there, a member of Allen’s family asked him to leave and when Gorley refused, hospital security forcibly removed him in handcuffs.
“I was not recognized as being the husband, I wasn’t recognized as being the partner,” Gorley told Kansas City’s Fox 4 News.
Though Missouri does not legally recognize them as a couple, according to Gorley, he and Allen have been in a civil union for nearly five years and make medical decisions for each other. Gorley also asserts that the nurse on duty refused to verify that the two men share joint power of attorney.
“She didn’t even bother to go look it up to check into it,” Gorley said. “He’s been at the psychiatric unit part several times.”
Research Medical Center said it does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or race and released the following statement:
We believe involving the family is an important part of the patient care process. And, the patient`s needs are always our first priority. When anyone becomes disruptive to providing the necessary patient care, we involve our security team to help calm the situation and to protect our patients and staff. If the situation continues to escalate, we have no choice but to request police assistance.
Though President Obama extended hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners in 2010, Roger Gorley cannot visit his husband Allen thanks to the restraining order.
“All we want is equal rights,” he said.
(h/t: The Raw Story)
And people wonder why we want equal rights. If anyone knows the e-mail address of the Research Medical Center we can collectively let them know our feelings!
There are several realities here. First off, consider that this is not ONLY a gay thing. Families also battle it out in straight relationships. Remember Terri Schiavo? An extreme comparison perhaps, but not ONLY a gay issue.
Regarding Power of Attorney. To be fully covered there are several different powers of attorney that must be in place – it sucks but it’s still true at this point. If it’s not specifically a medical power of attorney, include instructions for visitation, etc. it can be tough.
Thankfully many hospitals “get it” and most that we’ve encountered (my husband has been in Emergency Medicine for a number of years) recognize the situation and handle it appropriately. In this case it sounds like the family pressed the issue – that puts the hospital in a rough patch – gay or straight.
I hope that Mr. Gorley has sought both legal counsel and also reached out to HRC. The timing of this could not possibly be more perfect to draw lightning-rod attention to the hospital.
The interesting oversight in the story: It mentions security removing him in cuffs and then mentions a restraining order. But I’m curious…was the restraining order put in place AFTER the incident or had it already been put in place? That’s a critical piece of the puzzle that we’re missing. Regardless, I hope Roger prevails!