Elderly Gay Couple Forcibly Separated, Abused and Robbed

By county officials in California. This account is nothing less than horrifying and needs all the attention it can get.

I will quote it integrally.

This is shocking and outrageous:

Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place—wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold’s care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes. Ignoring Clay’s significant role in Harold’s life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold’s “roommate.” The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold’s bank accounts to pay for his care.

What happened next is even more chilling: without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold’s possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold’s lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property.

Clay is now suing the county, the auction company, and the nursing home. This story should get as much attention as Constance McMillen’s story. More attention. There should be protests outside the hospital and county administration buildings. And I think another phone call from the president is called for.

Religious Diversity and the Supreme Court

Feminist epistemologists have often argued for the importance of a diversity of perspectives in a community of enquirers. (A variety of reasons have been given, including the counteracting of pernicious elements of each others’ biases and each perspective being particularly conducive to understanding particular parts of the truth.) Well, the Supreme Court is at least arguably a community of enquirers. And it’s about to lose its only Protestant Justice, the superb John Paul Stevens, leaving 6 Catholics (6!) and 2 Jews. Should we, then, want to ensure that Protestantism remains represented? I’m not sure. One point against it is the thought that Protestantism is already amply represented in the long history of case law which is meant to guide its rulings. Another thought might be the standpoint theory-inspired one that what we really need are the standpoints of the less powerful groups, as they’ll be able to see the stuff the rest of us miss. That might lead one to suggest a Hindu, a Muslim or– gasp!– an atheist. But nah, that’s just too out there, isn’t it?