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Views & Voices

Ban me from my partner’s bedside? You’d have to arrest me too!

'This is why we still fight. This is why we still rally. This is why we still vote.'
Thursday, April 11, 2013

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.

Roger and 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.

Opinions and advice expressed in our Views & Voices columns represent the author's own views and not necessarily those of LGBTQ Nation. We welcome opposing views and diverse perspectives. To submit a article, column or video, contact us here. Due to the volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee publication.

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32 more reader comments:

  1. OUTRAGEOUS! Let our voices be heard!: Denise Charpentier is VP of Media Relations at the hospital. Give her a call: (816) 276-9293.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:40pm
  2. Oh hell no..I would have been put in jail too. Nobody is going to tell me I can’t comfort my partner when she is sick. I would have come unhinged.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:41pm
  3. This world and thge goverment is fucked up!

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:41pm
  4. Is no one gonna give ANY credence to the hospital’s story?

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:42pm
  5. This is why we need marriage equality…

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:42pm
  6. What I want to point out is that this happens to many people every day. It doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight, the spouse, the partner, the mother, father, sister, brother of the person in the hospital bed because all it takes is for one of your relatives to have something against the other and then it’s all over. I have seen it time and time again. It does not matter if you are the one sitting quietly holding their hand and the other relative is throwing a full on tantrum. If that relative can convince the hospital staff that you are the problem you will be asked to leave and escorted out. And the courts side with the hospitals in every case! I have seen parents denied access to their sick child because the other parent or grandparent did not want them there. It is sad and it happens all of the time!!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:48pm
  7. This is a hospital, they should be used to dealing with distraught and emotional family members (and when I say “family” members, i include gay partners.) Do you really think that if this patient was straight and married, that under any remotely similar circumstance, the hospital would have his WIFE handcuffed, dragged from the room and arrested. Bullshit!

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:48pm
  8. Removing spouses/family does happen. I am not convinced that this occurred because the family is gay in the case.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:50pm
  9. It’s easier just to get angry rather than actually understand what happened ;)

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:50pm
  10. Me three!!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:51pm
  11. NOPE!

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:54pm
  12. This story breaks my heart I hope Allen is ok…I can’t imagine how roger feels…

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:54pm
  13. For those who claim this happens to straight married couples, I call bullshit!

    When my wife was giving birth to her oldest child, her then husband got very distraught at what he saw as the doctors and nurses ignoring her plight. He threatened to BURN DOWN THE HOSPITAL if no one came to see her, and they didn’t kick him out!

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:56pm
  14. I am so outraged this has to stop . Being a gay man myself in an eight yr relationship with my partner can not imagine having to go through this ..It has not come up in our lives as of yet but when it does and at some point im sure it will they had better never treat either one of us in this way …I hope the Hospital is held in account for their discriminatory actions ..I thank everyone who continues for this fight Marriage equality need to be in place for All ……

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:56pm
  15. Every major hospital has PR staff that immediately do damage control. The press release from the hospital is BS. I was born and raised in Missouri, this story is NO SURPRISE to me. Now the employee responsible has probably been disciplined and the hospital wont’ admit wrong doing but I have NO REASON to believe this poor man’s story is not credible

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:56pm
  16. I looked Will, I can’t find the hospital side other than they refused to recognize a legally binding document. I don’t care gay or straight, if the man in the bed said the man who was put out is responsible for him he is responsible for him. The family can’t ask him to leave as he is number one to the man in the bed. This is so scary and sad.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 4:57pm
  17. This is why we need marriage out the of the picture completely when it comes to visitation rights. People shouldn’t have to be married to be able to care for/be cared for by whomever they choose.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:00pm
  18. You’d have to taze me before ud Pull me away..

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:05pm
  19. Or we could just allow all couples to marry…

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:06pm
  20. This was always my concern.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:11pm
  21. @Will AGAIN…what is the hospital story? You keep asking about it, but all I can find is they refused to acknowledge a Power of Attorney…

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:16pm
  22. crazy

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:17pm
  23. It’s also a function of class/SES… they’re less likely to kick out rich people…

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:29pm
  24. Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:31pm
  25. Yeah, but he was an E-3 in a Navy hospital. Not only not rich, but at a hospital where they merely had to talk to his chain of command, and he’d be placed in more trouble than even if he’d been arrested…

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:36pm
  26. I agree that it’s reprehensible to remove family members, but they do it when someone is preventing care from being given. While it wouldn’t surprise me if this was because of their genders, I think many people are jumping the gun on this one.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:37pm
  27. This is so heartwrenching.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 5:47pm
  28. This is so sad.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 6:06pm
  29. I doubt his partner prevented care. The Hospital is lying.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 6:43pm
  30. So, he got upset because the hospital was ignoring his legal and ethical rights and put him out. Had they (the hospital) acted in accordance with the law AND the wishes of the patient he wouldn’t have had to become a “barrier to care”. So, no…the hospital story doesn’t count, nor does it carry water…

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 6:46pm
  31. What would happen to my wife and myself if one of us was taken ill on a trip to the USA? We are a legally married same sex couple here in the enlightened north…………Canada. In 2000 the University of Chicago hospital put a cot in my wife’s room to allow me to stay with her during an illness, three years before we were married………….How is it that over a decade later any hospital in the USA can refuse to allow someone to stay at the bedside of the person they love. Atrocious and backward for the supposed leader of the western world. Thank goodness we now live in Canada!!

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 7:38pm
  32. Totally outrageous and that hospital should be ashamed of themselves. We need to have hospital and all rights that hetero couples have and if that means end of DOMA as well as passage of ENDA to do so then we need to get it done now.

    Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2013 at 7:45pm