Updated: 4:00 p.m. EDT
(See updates below).
LEE’S SUMMIT, Mo. — A Missouri man has been arrested for refusing to leave the hospital bedside of his sick partner after a family member requested that he do so.
Roger Gorley said hospital security at Research Medical Center in Kansas City forcibly removed him from the property and put him in handcuffs after he went to visit his partner Allen Mansell, and a member of Mansell’s family asked him to leave, reported WDAF-TV.
Gorley, a resident of Lee’s Summit, Mo., said that he and Mansell have been in a civil union for five years and shared powers of attorney over each other’s medical affairs.
“I was not recognized as being the husband, I wasn’t recognized as being the partner,” Gorley said.
Gorley said the nurse refused to verify they share joint power of attorney. “She didn’t even bother to go look it up to check into it,” he said.
Missouri law does not explicitly protect citizens from being discriminated against based on sexual orientation.
Gorley said he cannot currently visit Mansell at all due to a restraining order issued after his arrest on Tuesday.
Watch a report from WDAF-TV:
Research Medical Center has since issued a statement saying they do not discriminate based on sexual orientation or race:
“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.”
In 2010, President Obama mandated that hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and allow same-sex couples to share medical power of attorney.
A Change.org petition launched by LGBT rights activist John Becker is calling upon the Obama Administration to revoke funding provided to Research Medical Center for violating the executive order.
A second petition calls for an apology from Research Medical Center.
At approximately 3 p.m. EDT, Research Medical Center issued this statement by Denise Charpentier, VP of Marketing and Public Relations, in response to growing national attention to this story.
Research Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in Kansas City to offer domestic partner benefits, which have been in place since 2005, and we have had a policy specifically acknowledging domestic partners’ visitation rights in place for years.
This was an issue of disruptive and belligerent behavior by the visitor that affected patient care. The hospital’s response followed the same policies that would apply to any individual engaged in this behavior in a patient care setting and was not in any way related to the patient’s or the visitor’s sexual orientation or marital status. This visitor created a barrier for us to care for the patient. Attempts were made to deescalate the situation. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to involve security and the Kansas City MO Police Department.
We would also like to correct the misinformation about a restraining order. There was no issue of a restraining order by the hospital.
The hospital added that Gorley may now visit Mansell “in accordance with the visitation policy.”
Unconfirmed reports indicate that the retraining order was initiated by one of Mansell’s family members.