Although the State of Missouri refuses to recognize them, Roger Gorley and Allen Mansell have been in a civil union for nearly five years. They make medical decisions for each other, and each has designated the other as power of attorney.
But when Allen got sick and Roger went to visit him at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri this week, none of that mattered. When Roger arrived, an anti-gay member of Allen's family asked him to leave the hospital room. Roger refused to leave his partner's side, citing their power of attorney agreement, but the attending nurse refused to honor it. When Roger continued to assert his right to be at his partner's bedside, Research Medical Center security staff put him in handcuffs and forcibly removed him from the building.
This is not only unconscionable, it's also a violation of a 2010 Obama administration executive order prohibiting any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding from discriminating against same-sex partners' hospital visitation rights. The Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services has an obligation to enforce its executive order by investigating this matter and levying sanctions against Research Medical Center, up to and including the removal of federal funding.
No one should be able to deny someone the right to be at their partner's side when they're sick. Research Medical Center tried to do so, and should be forced to pay the price.