A gay man was arrested at a hospital in Missouri this week when he refused to leave the bedside of his partner, and now a restraining order is preventing him from any type of visitation. Roger Gorley told WDAF that even though he has power of attorney to handle his partner’s affairs, a family member asked him to leave when he visited Research Medical Center in Kansas City on Tuesday. Gorley said he refused to leave his partner Allen’s bedside, and that’s when security put him in handcuffs and escorted him from the building.
The staff at the hospital refused to look at (or look into) the power-of-attorney agreements that the men had signed granting each other the right to make medical decisions. Unfortunately the incompetent reporters at WDAF didn't bother to verify an easily verifiable fact: do Gorley and his husband have power-of-attorney agreements? If so, Gorley should be able to produce them. And if Gorley can produce them, the hospital needs to be confronted with them—as does the family of Gorley's husband. Right now someone has a taken out a restraining order against Gorley—the hospital? his husband's family?—and Gorley is being prevented him from even visiting his husband. Which brings us to this:
In a 2010 memorandum, President Barack Obama ordered hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding to allow visitation rights for gay and lesbian partners.
The hospital says it doesn't discriminate against LGBT people and claims that Gorley was being "disruptive." If Terry's family tried to have me removed from his bedside during a medical crisis—not that they would—you can bet I would be disruptive. They would have to drag me from his room in handcuffs too. And if my family tried to have Terry removed from my side during a medical crisis—not that they would—I wouldn't be the only Savage who wound up being hospitalized that day.
This is what DOMA does, this is what state bans on same-sex marriage does. It's not about flowers and florists. It's about having your partner recognized as your next of kin during a medical emergency. Receptions and banquet halls are nice, and the fair enforcement of non-discrimination laws that protect everybody (not just gay people) is important. But the truly important rights of marriage kick in during emergencies and at what are often the worst moments of our lives.