government separates gay couple, possessions auctioned.

John Aravosis at AMERICABlog links to this heartbreaking and infuriating story of an elderly gay couple:

Seventy-seven-year-old Clay Greene and his 88-year-old partner Harold lived in Sonoma County, California and had been together 20 years. Althoug…h they had wills, powers of attorney and medical directives, none of that mattered once Harold was hospitalized.”[C]ounty and health care workers 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 …Sadly, the story becomes even worse. The National Center for Lesbian Rights is fighting this horrific case—Greene v County of Sonoma et al—and explains everything. One more thing: This tragedy unfolded only minutes away from San Francisco, in beautiful, progressive and (allegedly) very gay friendly Sonoma County. Voters there rejected Prop 8 by a 2 to 1 margin. If it can happen there, it can happy anywhere. Yet another reason why marriage equality is so important …

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