Monday, April 19, 2010
Harold Scull and Clay Greene were a loving couple for 20 years. But as Harold neared the end of his life, our government treated them like perfect strangers, tearing their lives apart simply because they were gay.
Harold and Clay did everything they could to avoid this fate. They wrote wills and detailed medical directives in preparation for sickness or death. But when Harold went to the hospital after a serious fall, Sonoma County and health care workers claimed Clay was simply Harold's "roommate," terminated their lease, placed them in separate nursing homes, and auctioned off all their belongings.
Three months later, Harold died alone, without Clay's comfort to ease his passing. Clay grieved by himself, away from his home, and stripped of all his possessions.1
Clay is now represented by dedicated attorneys, including the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who are committed to seeking justice for Clay.
We can no longer watch in silence as our community endures such inhumanity. Join us and our friends at the National Center for Lesbian Rights in sending a letter to President Obama, asking him to fulfill the American promise of "liberty and justice for all" by immediately calling Congress to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT), and to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
Last Thursday, President Obama issued a directive to the Department of Health and Human Services to establish a rule that would prevent hospitals from denying visitation privileges to same-sex partners.2 This was a step toward fairness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans (LGBT), but it falls short of his promises to fight for equality in marriage, the military, and employment.3
As we push this week for the repeal of DADT, which bans openly gay and lesbian people from serving in the military, and for the passage of ENDA, which would protect LGBT people in the workplace, Harold and Clay's story reminds us that there are no fractions of equality. President Obama's memorandum last week is simply not enough. We expect and deserve real and sustained leadership on behalf of the full dignity and humanity of every member of our community.
Please share Harold and Clay's story with President Obama and remind him of the promise he made to be a "fierce advocate for equality"4. Ask the President to call on Congress to act NOW to repeal DOMA and DADT and to pass ENDA, and ask your friends and family to do the same.
Get Out, Get Active, GetEQUAL
-Robin, Kip, the GetEQUAL crew, and our friends at the National Center for Lesbian Rights
1 - Sonoma County CA separates elderly gay couple and sells all of their worldly possessions (The Bilerico Project), http://www.bilerico.com/2010/04/sonoma_county_ca_separates_elderly_gay_couple_and.php
2 - Obama orders new rules on hospital visitation for LGBT patients and families (AMERICAblog Gay), http://gay.americablog.com/2010/04/obama-issues-new-rules-on-hospital.html
3 - Obama Says Marriage Law Should Be Repealed (Washington Post), http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/17/AR2009081702722_pf.html
4 - Obama: Choice of Warren reflects diversity of ideas (CNN), http://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/12/18/obama.warren/