By now you have likely heard the story that Roger Gorley went to visit his hospitalized partner, Allen Mansell, at the Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, and when he got there, Allen’s family asked him to leave. Roger refused.
You see, Roger has power of attorney to handle Allen’s affairs, which includes medical decisions, and yet, when he refused to leave his partner’s bedside, security was called. He was put in handcuffs and escorted from the building.
The hospital later claimed that Roger had “created a barrier” that prevented them from treating Allen.
In 2010, President Obama ordered all hospitals and medical centers who receive Medicare and Medicaid payments to allow the patients to say who has visitation rights and who can make medical decisions for them.
This order was supposed to prohibit hospitals from denying visitation and consultation privileges on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. This order was allegedly supposed to be a critical step in ending discrimination against LGBT families.
Obviously, we are not all on the same page as of yet.
Roger says: “I was not recognized as being the husband, I wasn’t recognized as being the partner.”
He also also states that the nurse refused to even confirm that the couple shared power of attorney and made medical decisions for one another: “She didn’t even bother to look it up, to check in to it.”
The Research Medical Center insists that they did not, and do not, discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
Is Roger not considered Allen’s “family?” Obviously not.
And for those of you wondering why I’m retelling this story, it is because THIS is what the fight for marriage equality is all about.
It’s not about sex, or any of the things the Republicans or Evangelicals are talking about.
Marriage Equality is about being able to hold the hand of the person you love when they are sick and need your love and compassion the most.
It’s about making decisions that all people will eventually have to make about life and death, and who you want with you at the end of your life.
These two men have all the legal papers they were told they needed. They followed the law, and still, oone man is in a hospital bed while his life partner is restrained and dragged from the premises.
Marriage Equality is about not being arrested because you refuse to leave the side of the person you love – trust me.
If Susan were in a hospital bed and someone told me I couldn’t be there because I wasn’t “family,” or because someone from her “real family” didn’t want me there – they would have to arrest me also. I wouldn’t go quietly.
Marriage Equality is about dignity and respect for the love and commitment that two people make to one another. It’s about having that love be legal and recognized and honored by everyone in any and all situations.
This is why we still fight. This is why we still rally.
This is why we still vote – for dignity, for respect , for love — for Roger and Allen, for Susan and me, for you and yours, for all of us, for everyone.