- Jo WeberDirector, Sonoma County Human Services
Demand Justice for Elderly Gay Couple Forcibly Separated and Evicted
Clay Greene and Harold Scull were a gay couple living in Sonoma County, California. They had been together 20 years, building a life and a home together.
One day Harold had a terrible accident, and was taken to the hospital. Knowing that hospitals can sometimes be tough places for gay and lesbian couples, at least when it comes to visitation rights, the couple had all of their legal paperwork in order. But it didn't matter.
Health care workers would not allow Clay to see his partner Harold in the hospital. Then Sonoma County officials got involved, going to court to get permission to make financial decisions on Harold's behalf. The government then placed the couple in separate nursing homes, took control of the house they shared, and then brazenly auctioned off all of their household possessions.
Harold would die alone three months later, separated from Clay, his partner of 20 years.
Now, with the help of several attorneys, Clay is fighting back against Sonoma County for their unjust actions during the final months of Harold's life. Imagine having the person you love forcibly taken away from you, then your house, and finally all of your household possessions. What would possess a County to act so craven?
Send the Sonoma County Director of Human Services - a defendant in Clay's lawsuit - a message demanding justice for Harold and Clay. Though there's no compensation that can be afforded Clay that would equal the value of the relationship he had with Harold, the County needs to admit that it was wrong, and work with Clay and his lawyers to achieve justice. It shouldn't take a full blown trial for Sonoma County to admit that it not only acted inappropriately in this case - it acted downright inhuman.
- Director, Sonoma County Human Services
Sonoma County has been named as a defendant in a recent case, Greene vs. Sonoma County, for forcibly separating a gay couple, Clay Greene and Harold Scull, who had been together for 20 years. The County petitioned a court to take control of the couple’s finances, then promptly moved Harold and Clay into different nursing homes, auctioning off their house and their worldly possessions.
There’s simply no excuse for the County’s actions in this case. This was not only a couple, but a family; one who had been together for 20 years, building a life and a home together.
Why did this happen? How could Sonoma County administrators think it was acceptable to break this couple apart, especially during what became the last months of Harold’s life?
A court of law will decide the fate of this case in July 2010. But it shouldn’t take a lawsuit or a trial to get Sonoma County to do what it should have done a long time ago – apologize for its despicable actions in this case. No amount of compensation can now replace the relationship that Clay and Harold had together, but Sonoma County now has a choice: will it try to make amends for its brazen and inhuman acts, or will it continue down the road of ignorance and homophobia?
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