When it comes to marriage, one of the final arguments of the anti-gay movement is "why not civil unions?"
This week Roger Gorley was visiting his husband's bedside at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo. When the ill man's family demanded that Roger be ejected from the room, Roger refused. He and his husband took part in a civil union ceremony five years ago, and they also hold Power of Attorney status for one another.
When the nurse was informed of this, she didn't even bother going to look for the paperwork; she merely called security and had Roger removed from his partner's bedside in handcuffs. Furthermore, the hospital has now taken out a restraining order to keep him from visiting his husband in the hospital.
The hospital released a statement that insinuates that Roger was somehow putting people in danger or perhaps even reacting violently to being asked to leave his husband's room:
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 any hospital that receives federal funding, such as Medicare or Medicaid, must allow visitation privileges for same-sex partners.
The fact of the matter is that not everyone knows what "civil union" means, and this story is not isolated. For every story like this that makes it to the news, there are a dozen more for gay and lesbian couples who don't have the resources to get their story out there. And in most states, if a story like that were to get out, someone could lose their job or be evicted from their home for being gay.
I live in Washington, D.C., and I'm getting married in a month. If Sean were in the hospital and someone in his family were to try to make me leave, you can bet they'd have to arrest me too.