Politics, open government, and safe streets. And the constant incursion of cycling.


that this is you.  Or your mother or father:

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. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.

I’ve quoted more than I should, here, but I wanted to make sure that you saw what happened.  This is what happens when you deny people the basic decency of equality.


Pro Cycling Photography


Melden, Belgium


  1. So even when you play by the rules – getting the legal documents in place – the rule makers can ignore them.

    This is beyond ridiculous.

  2. Xerox

    This is unacceptable. I’ve sent this story to as many people as I can think of and encouraged them to contact the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, as well as California’s senators and Sonoma County’s representative.

    Thanks for posting this.

  3. Warren

    Disgusting. I do not support gay marriage, for a number of reasons. But if the county could do this even with the appropriate documents in place, do you not think they could do the same even if they were married? They simply have to declare the uninjured partner mentally unfit, and confine him as they did. Then, all could be done just as the county did, whether they are married or not. It is tragic, but I do not think marriage or civil union would have helped here. The problemm is with the government having that much power to begin with.

  4. MB

    That’s some seriously twisted justification for your bigotry, Warren. The problem isn’t government haven’t that much power to begin with, it’s 1) the abuse of that power and 2) people like you who apparently can’t be decent enough to support equal rights for all.

  5. Warren

    My “bigotry” has other reasons, as I said, and I do not think you want me to go into them here.

    But I do not think your “solution” would solve the problem.

  6. MB

    The thing, Warren – and I say this respectfully – is that your reasons really don’t matter to me. And by that, I mean, you are perfectly free to dislike two same sex people having a loving and intimate relationship – the whole world has a range of opinions on that, and I’ve not the slightest interest in trying to tackle the personal opinion side of things. But what I *am* interested in is getting those personal opinions separated from the power of the state. You get to marry who you want, I get to marry who I want. Neither one of us has to approve of the other’s choice. Now, I know it’s getting more common to hear “the state shouldn’t be involved in marriage at all!” as a rejoinder, but that rings hollow to me. There aren’t massive campaigns organized by enormous religious institutions to get the state out of marriage. There aren’t political parties that can be counted upon to regularly use the issue in every election. It’s bullshit, and you know it.

  7. Warren

    My opinions SHOULD matter to you, or you have no hope of addressing them or changing them, and your cause will continue to lose every time it is put to a vote.

  8. MB

    Warren, if the basic concept of equality is a problem for you (and it does seem to be, from your initial post here), that’s not something I’m going to spend my time on. What could I possibly say to you?

    I do take your point on the issue of a vote, though. To be sure, if we all got to vote on each other’s rights, black people would likely still be in chains, in Virginia. That’s why we have these things called basic human rights – they don’t go away, no matter how many people who don’t like you surround you. Funny enough, the trend, over time, is for younger generations to see this as less and less of a threat to them. You can scratch it out as long as you want. We both know where it’s going.

  9. Warren

    Those younger generations grow up, MB. Younger people have always been more liberal. Then the pre-frontal lobe develops.

  10. MB

    This isn’t a function of being liberal. In any event, check back in in 20 years and we’ll see how this has worked out. Basic decency isn’t as rare as you think it is.

  11. Warren

    And moral decency is not as rare as you hope.

  12. MB

    Which bring us back to the reason I don’t really care about why you oppose it. There’s nothing I can say to someone who confuses their bigotry for moral decency. It’s that sort of “moral decency” that results in the situation above, which even you find “disgusting.”

  13. Warren

    Then you will continue to lose, becuase you continue to refuse to understand those who oppose you.

    Your loss.

  14. MB

    Refuse to understand? It’s hardly complicated. I do understand. That’s why I don’t care.

  15. Warren

    Yup, your loss.

  16. Joy

    Why should I attempt to understand you, when you basically wish my family out of existence? That’s a nice burden to lay on me on top of all of the other inequities. And fears. You know, of being incapacitated or dying and no one respecting the wills and other meager legal protections that my wife (not my legal wife) and I constructed so that she would be able to keep our children – whom she has raised with me since they were born – in the only family and with ones of the only moms they have ever known. You know, I can kind of “understand” why you might want to punish me, but seriously, we have a 15 month old and a 3 year old, they are here they exist they are loved by both their moms and love us back, and you’d want that to be torn apart?

  17. Joy

    Because – and this is where I get a little like a kindergartener myself – because that isn’t morality that is just plain fucking mean.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén