Worst parents in the world?

It’s tempting to call Martha and Norman Bridegroom of Knox, Indiana, the parents of Tom Bridegroom who died last year, the “worst parents in the world.”  But their story, sadly, isn’t unique.

It’s happened before, and still happens.

(UPDATE: Since I first wrote this story, a documentary has been produced about it, and is currently (October of 2013) opening in NYC and southern California. More on the documentary further down. Thus the bump-up of this post, with additional information added at the bottom.)

I have a gay relative whose parents no longer consider him their son because he’s gay and has a (wonderful) partner of nearly twenty years now.  Bad parents can be vicious parents (and you are a bad parent if you treat your son, and his family, like this).

There’s a viral YouTube video going around about a young gay man and how his parents reportedly mistreated him and his partner after they found out he was gay.  Things only got worse when he died at the age of 29.  The surviving partner made the video, and it’s heartbreaking. (Video is below.)

Here’s a blog post from a friend of Tom and his partner Shane:

Screen Shot 2012-07-24 at 12.46.18 PMLast year Shane lost Tom in an accident. Tom’s mother, Martha Bridegroom, came to California from Knox, Indiana to retrieve Tom’s body.

While Shane was at home resting, she left with Tom for Indiana without allowing Shane to say goodbye.

Tom’s father, Norman Bridegroom, then threatened violence against Shane if he were to attend the funeral Indiana.

Shane was shut out.

Shane says that Tom’s mom promised to stay in touch, let him know about the funeral, etc.  She never reached out to him again.

Shane says that Tom’s parents did, however, get word to him that if he showed up at the funeral he would be “attacked” by Tom’s father and uncle.  This, after Tom reportedly claimed that his father threatened him with a gun, and physically attacked him, when he came home at Christmas after having told his parents he was gay.

Of course, the reaction of the hospital wasn’t any better.  They refused to tell Shane anything about what happened to Tom without the mother’s permission because – drum roll please – gay relationships aren’t real relationships in the eyes of the law.  (I’m curious as to how the hospital got away with doing this since the President supposedly mandated that hospitals treat gay partners as family – that treatment should include medical records.  Does it?)


This video came out a while ago.  I’d never heard of it.  Apparently they’ve raised a lot of money to do a documentary about the story.  Watch this video.  It’s ten minutes long, very well done, and totally worth it. (UPDATE: The documentary is out, and apparently won an award in 2013.)

Shane has also released a letter, that explains more:

A letter from Shane Bitney Crone:

I grew up with a large conservative Republican family, in a small conservative Montana town. I always knew I was different from my peers; those differences resulted in bullying, which led to extreme panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. It seemed as though life would never get better and I even contemplated suicide.

What helped me survive those painful years was knowing that I could one day escape to a place where I would be free to live however I want, and love whomever I choose.

I moved to Los Angeles just a few short months after graduating from high school. Not long after my arrival in Hollywood, I met the love of my life: Tom. He and I proceeded to build a life together, which included starting a business, buying a home, and adopting a dog.

We realized that in order to be fully committed to one another, we would need to officially come out to our respective families. Mine embraced our relationship, while Tom’s parents blamed me for “turning” him gay, pulled a gun on him, and encouraged him to take his sinful sexuality to the grave with him.

In spite of this trauma, we continued to live our lives together happily. We vowed to marry when it would be legally recognized in our state, California. That possibility would come too late though.

tom-and-shane-featuredOn May 7th, 2011, just a few months after Tom gave me a promise ring, he tragically fell from our best friend’s rooftop while taking photos. He didn’t survive. To worsen an already tragic accident, his mother (whom I thought had finally started to support our relationship), took his body back to Indiana without notifying me of any memorial plans. Tom’s family banned me from attending his funeral, and threatened physical harm should I come anywhere near them. I was never able to say a proper goodbye to the man I had loved for six years.

For the majority of my life I refused to stand up for what I believed in, and for who I was, out of fear and shame. Tom lived his life fully, openly, and lovingly, and he always encouraged me to embrace my flaws and strengths with pride.

On the one year anniversary of his death, I released a YouTube video that chronicled our relationship and the aftermath of his death. I wanted to help other couples, gay and straight, to prepare for the worst, and to enjoy the best. I wanted to teach others through my personal hardship and to inspire others with Tom’s laughter, smile, and courage.

The video went viral and I was approached by writer/director Linda Bloodworth Thomason, who wanted to turn our story into a feature-length documentary. We eventually launched the most successful film crowd-funding campaign in the history of Kickstarter. Over 6,000 people from all over the world pledged money to help tell Tom’s and my story.

I no longer live in a shadow of shame and embarrassment, and mostly because of Tom. I am proud of the love we shared, and the plans we made, and I want to help others carry out the dreams we never saw come true, even if it’s just through the telling of my story in this film.

Bridegroom is not about revenge or politics. It is a film about love, forgiveness, and about finding the courage to be who you are when the world says you shouldn’t. This is my fairy tale, and Tom is, and always will be, my happy ending.


I will say one thing: I hope the Bridegroom’s of Indiana are enjoying their 15 minutes of fame.  They’re now a YouTube sensation, with 4 millions views as of this writing.

They say there’s a special place in hell. Well, that place is on the Internet, where bad deeds live forever, especially if your last name is as unique as “Bridegroom.” (Google it – on the first results page you’ll find links to the story of how they treated their son.)


After Tom cut Shane’s hair.

You wonder if the parents have any concept that they just “Santorumed” their family name forever.

The documentary, “Bridegroom” is now out – initial showings are in southern California and NYC.  Here’s the trailer for the documentary, it’s pretty moving.  Then below that is a video Shane made that’s even more moving.

And as a reminder that this story happens all too often, a reader wrote the following after hearing about this story:

 I was allowed to attend the funeral for my partner, but not the burial. A group of local drag queens held their own service for him in a public park because the LGBT community was excluded. I was 28. You never get over something like that.

Three days after the funeral, I had a sheriff’s deputy knocking on my door with a court order to enter my home and remove anything the family claimed was his. They also forged my name on the title of the car we purchased together and sold it. They had it “repossessed” right out of my driveway.

A few weeks later, I went to the cemetery to place flowers on his grave and discovered the grave had been moved. There was just an empty spot.

You were right when you wrote that these things are not uncommon. I have spoken to dozens of people who have had similar experiences over the years. If we had been legally married, I would not have experienced those kinds of problems.

This is one stark example of why gay couples are fighting for the right to marry.  You are not truly equal until you are truly married.

Here’s Shane’s video, telling the story – which really is a must-watch:

And here’s some local coverage of the story:

Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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190 Responses to “Worst parents in the world?”

  1. Paul Bonaldi says:

    I cant begin to say how sorry I feel for Shane,,
    I think everything has been said that needs to be said,,,,,
    Its obvious that Toms parents are the most uncaring people that walk the face of the earth
    and just knowing they will be judged someday …. as much as that dosen’t help right now ….
    I’ve got to say that you , Shane , are a beautiful soul and I wish I had the pleasure of knowing you and Tom.. God rest his soul……

  2. curt s conn says:

    As a fellow Hoosier of the State of Indiana this saddens me to the depth of my soul. These parents do not represent most Indiana residents and their hateful ways and of thinking. As a gay man now 54 born and raised in Indiana I had 100% support and love from my family and friends. At age 17 I came out and at age 19 meet the love of my life I was with 21 years and he was part of my family 100% and not just when it was convenient. Tom’s Family and Parents should be ashamed and will go to Hell . They are not true Christians. They pain they have imposed can and will never be forgiven. Bigotry is skin deep. Tom’s Parents have a lot of soul searching and one day will suffer for what they did to Shane and loved ones outside of Know, Indiana. I promise to visit his grave one day as I visit Winamac Indiana occasional and yes there are gay people who live there as well but in the closet still. I had a 3 year relationship with one of Winamac Prominent Business Man who refused to be who he truly is . GAY . All because of the community and fear of coming out.

  3. knitman says:

    If ‘love’ is conditional, it isn’t love.

  4. Robin Willcourt says:

    I just saw this video: an incredible story and one that filled me such contempt for what can only be described as heartless self-absorbed humans.

    What a beautiful couple you were and still are. One can only hope that the Bridegrooms remain forever humiliated by their infamy. Despicable! And Shane, you are clearly a beautiful man and so brave to have come forward, revealing the ugliness hiding under the rock: a grotesque form of self-righteousness.

    May you find the peace that you so deserve.

  5. Roger Holzem says:

    They will rest in Hells eternal flames for all eternity! I’m thankful that this is also Gods plan!

  6. Roger Holzem says:

    They deserve all the hate they receive! Death and eternity in Hell is all they can claim in glory for themselves! I’m hoping its on the lake of fire they find their final place of rest!

  7. Roger Holzem says:

    They deserve little forgiveness! In fact I’m fairly certain Satan is preparing their quarters of eternal rest!

  8. Roger Holzem says:

    The parents were sperm and egg donors nothing more! I’m hoping that karma takes care of them in a way they deserve and will never forget!

  9. Eric Fisher says:

    They demonized themselves; they are demons. My regret is that they live in some rural bubble, impervious. Would that they lived in a big city.

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  11. Patrick says:

    Dd you even understand the message, or are you lost to the Lord as well?

    Proverbs 10:12 – Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.

    If Tom’s parents had accepted their love, no sin would have been committed. That is in the bible, but the parent’s obviously forgot it. Very convenient.

    We all judge ourselves, but Tom’s parents do appear to follow a ruleset that is not in the bible, rather based on their reputation in the community. The parents have failed god and Shane as well as their son:

    Malachi Chapter 3

    8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.

    9 Ye [are] cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, [even] this whole nation.

  12. Patrick says:

    Tracey, sadly I think Tom’s family is so lost in darkness they do not see their errors. They are in the darkness even now, and seem unable to accept it. Until they repent in their mortal life, Peter could not possibly open the gates for them.

    John 2:9 – He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.

  13. Patrick says:

    If your god works that way, that is not a god of love. It is a god of suffering and not one I’d worship. There is a good reason your Founding Fathers rejected all religion, stay true to the american dream and reject all religion in your house, but accept it of your neighbours, They may be christian, they may be jewish, muslim or hindu. It doesn’t matter. Shane’s grief is real and the worst part of it is that religion disallowed Shane to even see Tom one last time. That is the saddest part.

    If religion could be banished altogether, Shane would have been able to be there in Tom’s last hours, he would have been able to attend the funeral. But a religion of hatred since the 1200’s prevented that.

    God had noting to do with it, rather the opposite. Tom’s parents did, and sinned in the process.

  14. Patrick says:

    If a parent cannot accept their children as they are, that parent is not worthy of being a parent. Consider the fact that the bible contains a mere 2 passages on gay relationships, while it contains 43 verses on clothing rules, 22 on divorce and 14 against hatred. These parents broke 14 bible verses in order to save their reputation. If they believe as true christians, they will be heading straight downstairs, Peter will no open the gates for them.

    As much as I’d like to see them punished in their mortal life for their sins, that is not up to me. However, if I was the Governor of the state they live in, I’d certainly declare the parents “persona non grata” since they do not in any way whatsoever reflect the American spirit as intended by the Founding Fathers, rather the opposite. Franklin, Washington, Stuyvesant, they would all reject these parents faith.

    In essence, these parents have not proven worthy of their son, they have failed him so spectacularly, they are not worth calling parents. Their legacy is a legacy of hatred and of suffering, they are the true heralds of Satan, in a sheep’s disguise. It is their choice to come around and truly honour their son, and I hope they do, but Satan’s grip may be too strong.

  15. Allabuncha says:

    Having seen the movie several times, and cried for weeks afterwards; there is one message that Shane has repeated many times. His wish was not to demonize Tom’s family.

    As much as it hurt Shane, remember this pain brought about great changes that will have an effect on our nation. Shane brought to light the pain that so many have endured over the years and he gave it a beautiful pair of faces to the cause of equality (His and Tom’s).

    Though it will be hard, try to understand Tom’s family, and forgive them. In the words of Jesus “They know not what they do.”

    I don’t know the family, or Shane. Though I have followed Shane and admired his strength. Tom’s legacy should be about the good that is coming about. His family is/was in great pain, and may never reach acceptance, but they should be proud of the wonderful man he was, and the wonderful partner he left behind.

    Tap! Tap! Tap!

  16. lasvegaspamela says:

    Sorry, this story is no different than many, many others where a set of parents do not accept their grown child’s love interest, and stay divided, sometimes for life. Thank God there were no children involved! If Shane and Tom were employed, home-owning adults, why would THEY have not recognized their need for legal protection in case of accident or death? A Civil Union or Domestic Partnership (or even a Common Law Marriage) would have solved their dilemma. Having a Will would have helped.

    I don’t care to read any more hateful comments toward Tom’s mother, who if you think about it, was “with” her son for more than the 6 years Shane claims. Shane’s lack of character is truly showing in his attempts to paint Tom’s parents as the hateful ones.

  17. cara-marie askew says:

    that is fucking disgusting no human should be treated like that especially by there parents RIP TOM BRIDEGROOM GONE BUT NEVER FORGOTTEN

  18. adrian0603 says:

    I watched the documentary this afternoon. It is a very sad state of affairs when young people who realize they are gay feel the only way to deal with it is by taking their own life. I have a very young son myself and I have always instilled in him to be himself and never be ashamed of who he is. To my knowledge he is not gay but if that was the case I would love him no less, I would however worry about the hatred he would have to deal with from strangers. Tom seemed to be one of the sweetest and happiest people and was loved and accepted by his friends, it seemed the danger for him was his own family. Shocking and heart wrenching film. I plan to watch it again.

  19. Anthony Blanchard says:

    No parent should ever burry their child, this shows you that Gods hand is still in control and now he shows the Bridegrooms the same pain they showed their son by taking him away from them. I know that this truely tragic for Shane but God has a mission for you to carry on and spread your word about this and believe it or not Toms death although tragic has probably saved many lives through your voice, just remember of the many times you thought about suicide and the many others that have considered the same but now knowing there is a glimmer of hope to find True love even if only for a short 6 years then for never at all . God bless you and your future journeys.

  20. tracey carnahan says:

    I agree! If you have to tell me you’re a Christian, you’re probably not. (Or you think I’m not smart enough to notice).

  21. tracey carnahan says:

    As the mother of a gay son, what I wish for him and all LGBTQ people is to find love and happiness. Time is much too short for anything else. Don’t hate the Bridegroom family as I’m sure they have enough guilt and self-loathing all on their own.

  22. fireman452a says:

    Don’t get angry – GET EVEN!!!

  23. fireman452a says:

    I have seen over and over again how much folks say they HATE Tom’s parents. While this is a tempting trap to fall into, hate is an emotion that is WAY too close to love – it is just the other side of it, and these people are not worth it. I know, I have the EXACT same parents, shotgun (rifle in my case), physical attack and all and all I have for them is pity. Pity, because a parents love is UNCONDITIONAL, and being gay is a CONDITION not a choice – I mean REALLY who in their right mind would CHOOSE to make their life as difficult as they possibly can by BEing gay. Life has so many joyous opportunities. I am so grateful to Tom, and to Shane for telling their story because it got me up off my butt and moving and my MARRIED partner and I have filed a federal lawsuit in Florida to bring about Marriage Equality – Thank you Tom and Shane, if we succeed it will be in large part because you got me going in the right direction. Tap Tap Tap!!!

  24. traditional says:

    Like you aren’t judging yourself!?!?!

  25. I may be a little late this the conversation here, but the pain Shane must still be feeling over this is hard to fathom. They say time heals all wounds, which may be true to some extent, but without closure and finality the pain never stops. Some have said it’s not our place to be angry with the homophobic parents in this case, but if we as a gay and straight community don’t get angry about vile situations like this, then how can change come about. I hate myself so much for not coming out years ago, but knowing the father I had it would have been as close to a death sentence as someone could receive. My open minded sister who had a lesbian friend was forbid to ever even have her just as a friend by my father. So I knew how my reception would have been had I come out to my parents. Every day, every waking moment, I hold my anger in myself because of having to kept myself hid from the world all those years. All I just wanted to be was me. Some say it’s never too late, but what I wanted out of life has passed. Shane, with all my heart, I am so sorry for what you had to endure and if you could give me some of your pain I know I have room for more just to make your life more tolerable. Huggers…….

  26. Marie Bridegroom deserved the *Worst mother ever* award. How could a mom do that to her son’s boyfriend? Absolutely horrible. :(

  27. Nan says:

    Martha Bridegroom is the worst mother ever!
    She works at Culmer Academy in Indiana.
    I hope the word is out on the hate that surrounds this woman

  28. Eddie Ballard says:

    Shane I can’t tell you how sorry I am to here about the Love of your life! I know how it feels to wish that you could turn back time. I know the feeling, that phone call, the drowning in the lost. I truly wish I could give you back Tom. In a blink there gone and they take part of you with them. I open my heart an wrote this in the Loving memory of the Love of my life, his name wasn’t Tom but he meant the same to ME. (Shadows) Shadows of my past they haunt me; every where I turn your there. It’s that smile I long and look for: Life seems so unfair. Shadows of my past they haunt me; As a breeze caresses my ear at times I can almost hear your voice. “In a genital whisper those three words you”ll say “I love you” Those three words:, you’d say :these ones” I’ll reply “yea theses ones”. I love you”. Shadows of my past they haunt me; every time I here your songs; “How faraway or how close it is you I love the most”. Every day I cry for you these tears of sorrow seem to flow! Shadows of my past they haunt me; True love it hurts the most! I know that I faithfully miss you, and these fillings I can’t hide. To see this truth just look into my eyes sorrow is hard to disguise. Shadows of my past they haunt me; I can almost hear your laugh; your laugh know one else’. Almost smell your smell know one else’. Almost is what haunts me’ Shadows of my past! I still love you & always will. I miss you! It’s still ME and your still You!!!! Shane if your reading this Man you need to know the world is full of kindred souls and We All Love You!!!!

  29. Ricardo says:

    Martha and Norman Bridegroom are hateful, selfish, and self-serving individuals that only considered their interests not Tom. The world now knows that!

  30. Robin says:

    AMEN…Martha and Norman are the trash of the world. they will get theirs one day..

  31. William says:

    How the HELL can barring their sons Boyfriend from attending his funeral be best for their son? I cannot see your rationale here. And how the HELL is pulling a gun on and attacking your own son just because he’s gay in the sons best interest??? Are you that backwards and bigotted to think that what they did to both their OWN SON and his boyfriend was in thier sons best interest??

  32. Angry_in _NY says:

    After watching the Documentary I think the only family Tom had was Shane. Tom’s parents should be ashamed of themselves. As for Toms father pulling a gun on Tom and telling Shane he was going to “come to California and gut him” I say this to Mr Norman Bridegroom…I’d Like to see you come to New York and tell me that you are going to GUT me because I am gay and in a loving committed relationship…You’d have One HELL of a surprise waiting for you when I opened my door. Heed these words Mr and Mrs. Bridegroom, “what you give out you get back threefold…”. Someday you both Will have to answer for what you did to your own son and to that poor boy in California who lost Not only his Lover but his Best friend.

  33. Della says:

    I know her too..I agree

  34. Raymond says:

    Many people from Knox hate this family. I go to school at the University of Oregon but spent time in the rural areas around Knox. I knew Tom and found him to be a lovely individual.
    It is time the Bridegrooms knew how much people dislike them..Tom would be ashamed of his parents!

  35. maybell says:

    I know this woman (Martha) she is the worst human being you could encounter.She is selfish and refuses to accept her son even in death.Sad…

  36. Susanana says:

    I agree….

  37. James says:

    Both Martha and Norman Bridegroom live in Knox Indiana. The only “Bridegroom” in the United States. Hateful family….selfish. Allowed Shane to pay for the transfer of the body and the Funeral cost yet would not allow him to attend (Father and Uncle said that they would harm him). Took funds for the family in the name of Tom…Do you know this family? Reject them for what they are…false Christians that practice hate.

  38. April says:

    Martha Bridegroom is associated with Culver Academy in Indiana. Call them
    and tell them that any school that hires this hateful women should not be considered
    for enrollment. They represent closed minded mentality. The phone number for Martha and Norman Bridegroom can be found by using google to obtain white page numbers in Knox Indiana

  39. Thomas says:


  40. Regina says:

    Yes…worst parents ever…Shameful
    Martha you should be ashamed! Violent husband too..

  41. Johanna says:

    Phone number for Norman and Martha Bridegroom 574-772-6987

  42. Linda says:

    People should let the Bridegrooms know how much we reject their hate and judgemental attitude.
    Write Martha Bridegroom c/o Culver Academy in Indiana.Phone numbers for this family (Norman and Martha) can be obtained using a number of people searches on the internet. Let them see that we support Shane and his love over their hated mentality.

  43. Theresa M says:

    yes…write Culver Academy in Indiana about Martha Bridegroom. This women is a disgrace.
    Culver should be proud!?

  44. Richard says:

    It is their life not yours…you do not understand if you agree with these hateful parents.

  45. Joseph says:

    Remind Culver Academy of her position with society. (Martha)

  46. Daniel says:

    Selfish parents that are full of hate…hell is waiting

  47. tiffany says:


  48. Susanna says:

    Martha and Norman Bridegroom are full of hate. I hope they know how much they are hated!

  49. Thomas says:

    These parents are the worst. Groups should write them to let them know how the country feels

  50. ofCanada says:

    Keep up the fight for full citizenship.

  51. ofCanada says:

    That’s pretty classist of you. From the look of things in the documentary, you’re wrong, too. Rethink.

  52. ofCanada says:

    I sincerely hope it doesn’t happen, but wills can be contested and sometimes get read after disputing families cause each other pain. There is no way that same-sex marriage rights can reach the entire U.S. too fast. It must become the standard everywhere that same-sex husbands and wives are granted full rights as next of kin.

  53. v1kster says:

    What Tom’s parents did was disgusting. If they really loved their son they would have wanted the man he loved to by able to grieve as they were and say his goodbyes as they had the chance to.

    I’m so glad Shane shared his story with the world, I hope his voice is heard.

  54. BloggerDave says:

    I just saw the documentary on Netflix and all I can say is: FUCK YOU Martha and Norman Bridegroom….

  55. Jay says:

    Norman G Bridegroom
    65+ years oldOptions
    Phone number
    802 S Portland St
    Knox, IN 46534-1809

  56. Julia Sands Tiller says:

    The Bridegrooms are definitely the worst parents ever! They are a dishonor to their son’s memory. Shame on them.

  57. jennifer says:

    I remember one day my parents caught me and a close friend of mine doing stuff. I Felt so horrible even after my parents said they didn’t care about my sexuality. After watching that documentary I felt a new emotion within me that was so thankful my parents didn’t react the way I thought they would. I have never cried as much as I have after watching this movie. The feelings that this movie would make you feel is just overwhelming. My heart goes to you And everyone going through

  58. Mark Mann says:

    I have always found ironic that Christians believe that homosexuals can be “cured” and yet they do not see themselfs as being de-programed off the anachronic teachings of a meadieval cult. Christians speak of homosexuality as a “choice” when in fact they are the ones in a position to choose between right and wrong. Just my 2 cents.

  59. Larry Martin says:

    Beautiful tribute to true love and the unequal forces that seek to destroy. My prayers to Tom, Shane, and the Bridegrooms.

  60. Moderator3 says:

    Allan is not a regular commenter here. In fact, he has only commented one time. You will notice that all his up votes came from guests and not from our regular commenters. BTW – I have always said that I had a choice, and I chose to be happy.

  61. Sebastian Lenington says:

    We all appreciate everyone on here who is supportive of Shane, but I think it’s also important to point out that gay is not a choice. You wrote: “Her son made his choice in life to be who he was.” Well that isn’t exactly true. In fact, in the beginning of Tom and Shane’s relationship, they actually tried to ‘not be gay’ as it was told. They both came from “conservative” states before coming to California. I agree that Tom’s parents couldn’t possibly love their kid(s) since it couldn’t be done “unconditionally”. I think that is what the point is in the big scheme of things. How could a parent NOT love their kids unconditionally? THAT’S probably the saddest part of all. But the biggest tragedy with that is that the Bridegrooms don’t know true love. Shane and Tom did. Perhaps they are now taking a second look at their upbringing and realizing how closed-minded the “bible-belt” area they’re from really is. I guess the saddest part of all is that they will never come around because they don’t know any better. They’re probably proud of themselves for standing up to what they believe in, even if it’s politically or even emotionally incorrect. Thank you all for continuing to support Shane. I live in Calilfornia also and would fly or drive to Shane in a heartbeat to be there for him. Fortunately for him, he has a lot of support around him!! And now he spends most of his time travelling everywhere promoting equal rights for all in the memory of Thomas Lee Bridegroom. Let’s be thankful for Shane for being so brave and speaking out that “LOVE IS LOUDER”!!!

  62. Sebastian Lenington says:

    I will admit i have not read any comments as of yet on this blog, and the story of Tom and Shane is both tragic and beautiful.. But in my opinion no one has the right to slam Toms parents except for Shane, who has consistently maintained himself and remained ‘the better person’ if you will. Shane has maintained hope that theyll come around. That the parents of the love of his life share memories, can laugh and cry about Tom, together. Also, the last thing we want for Shane is a lawsuit for slander or libel. We all want to be mad at someone for this. But Shane isnt feeding off of hate or anger. Just hope, and the wonderful memories he has of Tom. Worst parents ever? Possibly. But we are not Shane. We are not in a positi on to judge. Before u say hateful things, take time to appreciate that special someone and let the love come through. Hate is bad.

  63. WordOfTruth says:

    I for one don’t wanna hear them speak out about this…ever. Unless it’s an apology to Shane. Not holding my breath though.

  64. LuLu says:

    I wonder if Tom’s parents are ever going to give their opinion. At the same time- it might be better if they kept their bigot mouths shut.

  65. Laurie Lee says:

    I just watched Oprah’s documentary Bridegroom and OMG what a heart wrenching show. So extremely sad on so many levels, but the most disturbing is the behavior of Tom’s parents. I honestly believe there is a special place in Hell for people like them and there is no doubt in my mind that Tom is in heaven. I believe God takes beautiful people like Tom at a young age because he needs people like Tom in heaven. I’m broken for Shane but he and Tom got to share some beautiful years together and one day Shane will find love again and Tom will be watching from above with approval and love Forever! Thank you for creating a movie such as Bridegroom, it was a Great piece of work, and a beautiful tribute to Tom. Shame on his parents!

  66. madison89 says:

    learn how to make 75 dollars per day from your home! swiftly enter the url surveymoneymaker dot net

  67. Teri says:

    No he did not kill himself! get educated

  68. Teri says:

    No we give our children a life it is their life to live! as parents who love our children we should honor the life of our child and all the things he or she loved! The truth is if we really love them I mean really love them then we accept all of them this includes everything! as parents we may not always agree with jobs, cars, friends, who they love! all these things are choices that are not ours (the parents) to make!!! I love my children and it does not matter who they love if I love them I will honor the love my child has for his or her partner! Shame on his parents but they will have to live with the awful choices they made and they pain they inflicted on Shane and Tom!!

  69. Mike Layton says:

    Shane , thank you for being the voice of many . I came across your youtube upload sometime back, then news came that it would be followed by a documentary . I patiently waited its release . Just this past week my partner and I finally got to watch it via Netflix , I must say your story inspired me . I have some family issues at the moment , issues that I keep putting off dealing with , your story has given me that nudge to move forward .
    I have been out to family and friends for a decade and am currently in a healthy long term relationship with whom I think to be the perfect partner . My current issues are limited to differences in ideals between myself and my oldest son ( he just doesn’t care for who I picked ) .
    Living in a state that will never ( in my lifetime ) treat homosexuals as equals I have taken steps to protect my partner from that that happened to you .
    I drew up a will not only leaving everything ( material ) to my partner to do as he wishes but also precluded those that have been offended by my lifestyle . Figuring it like this ; All I earned , accomplished and acquired I did as a gay adult male , those that are conflicted , hateful or just ignorant are not worthy to benefit from MY toils .
    No burial , I will be cremated and release in a favorite location . Those that which to ignore or contest my parting wishes will be haunted , mercilessly .
    Again thank you Shane , I am sure that Tom is proud of you . Your tireless efforts will not go unnoticed .

  70. Macman1940 says:

    I just watched the film and my heart goes out to Shane and all of the Shanes out there. Over the years I have gotten to the point that when someone says “I’m a Christian”, I cringe because people like Tom’s parents have far more in common with the Pharisees than Christ. Can they really imagine Christ treating people like these church-going citizens treat some of their fellow humans. We all need to fight for equality and dignity for everyone.

  71. Allan says:

    I completely agree, Tom’s mother is not a real mum. She’s selfish, self centred and does not have the capacity to be a loving mother. Her son made his choice in life to be who he was. It’s her loss that she could not know and have a real relationship with her son. Cutting Shane out from things at the end only shows further disrespect to her son by being against his partner. They will always be one and she will suffer eternal torment for what she has done to her son. Tom will always be with Shane and vice versa. Shame his mother needs to live with herself being so nasty!!!!

  72. DissapointedWithTheWorld says:

    I can’t believe the world has become as shallow and insensitive as it has. As I read all these comments, it breaks my heart that you need to wade through so much paperwork and legality just to be near the person you love. The world has truly gone to hell when you can’t even retain the dignity and respect that is “owed” to you when you place your love and faith in someone to the moment they die. To know that there are people in this world who carry such a vindictive mentality as to strip someone of their right to grieve properly over someone they love just boggles my mind. When there are so many people in this world who die unloved,without a tear shed for them, I can’t understand who in their right mind would not immediately embrace and be thankful for that person who loved their son and friend as much as they did.

  73. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    My husband and I had the same protections that you have, but that didn’t solve everything. My husband passed away in Minnesota before marriage equality passed. There was a law that said same gender couples could not make final arrangements for their partner despite the fact that we were married in church. I knew the family wished my husband to be buried in the family plot in Northern Minnesota. I didn’t qualify as family to be buried there. My husband and I wished our ashes to be placed in the same niche in our church’s columbarium. The family agreed. They were for the most part good people, and since I was paying, it was finally a done deal. However, I have had some of his relatives visit. They were not the ones to whom he was close. They would keep looking at things and asking to whom they belonged. I told them point blank that everything was left to me, so it didn’t matter who originally brought it to the relationship. We did have children, so I will leave everything to them.

  74. bambam1948 says:

    My Partner of 42 years (married two) and I have always had cross wills, durable POA’s, Medical POA’s and Living Wills simply to protect each of us from our own families (although I really doubt it would have been as problem). Never the less, one never really knows how siblings will behave after the funeral; been there and done that after my grandparents’ funerals!

  75. Robert says:

    The most profoundly sad aspect to this story is not Tom’s untimely and senseless death, but the fact that his parents did not have the capacity to love him. What makes the story so powerful is that Shane understood this. It took me longer than Shane to accept that some people have no conscience, lack empathy, and do not love. They exist, are plentiful, and cannot change who they are. The sooner I recognized that reality of our world, the quicker I was able to remove such people from my life and surround myself with what I call “good” people.

  76. Robert says:

    I’d love to believe you but I see how they vote.

  77. Linda Boswell says:

    The last line in Tom’s obituary in Knox area newspapers was “donations may be made to the family”. They got their hands on his accounts and possessions very soon after he died so I’m sure there was ample money to pay for his services, etc. Go figure.

  78. annagitana says:

    There’s only too much reliance on legalisms when the people involved are gay. The “rules” are bent often enough when it’s straight people involved.

  79. annagitana says:

    A domestic partnership may not have been enough. Some people with partnerships have been denied the right to visit or be with their sick or dying partner. It is best to couple it with a living will, power of attorney, medical directives, etc. There are not too many protections one can have.

  80. Aquaria says:

    I grew up in rural and small town America, cupcake. It was full of bigots and hatred and stupidity–and still is.

    I’ve lived in Mississippi and have visited an old friend who moved there several times. Ever see Klansmen in full regalia passing out literature for their organization in broad daylight? Right in the middle of towns, or at the busiest intersections?

    I have.

    Ever witness people printing up bumper stickers for Jesse Jackson to run for President with the slogan “Run Jesse Run”, and then white yokels putting them on the front grilles of their hickmobile?

    I have. Wait–Do I need to explain the joke to you?

    You have no idea just how ugly the effects of racism are in this country thanks to redneck bigot trash rural America. Not one stinking clue.

    Go to a colonia sometime.

    Go to rural black America sometime.

    Consider why LULAC had to fight for state-funded colleges to be built in predominantly Hispanic regions of Texas.

    There are very real effects of how minorities are treated in this country because rural hicks get their hate on anytime brown taxpayers want rights or access to the same institutions that white people take for granted.

  81. Aquaria says:

    They all have to cherry pick, or become schizophrenic. Genocidal fury and being a doormat are side by side in the hot mess of the babble.

    The fundies at least get that the book is overall hateful and awful (which it is).

  82. Aquaria says:

    1a) Let me get my barf bag. “Force of love in the world.” Good grief, the pretentious wankery of it all is nauseating.

    1b) The force of love in the world comes from sentience. The only evidence we have for that isn’t from disgusting invisible space buddies, but from sentient beings. This is basic reality, cupcake.

    2) Because something is possible doesn’t mean it’s not stupidly wrong or just plain crazy, anyway. The gawd being is a fictional character; ergo, a delusion. Believing delusions are real is EPIC FAIL, and the hallmark of insanity. We lock people up when they think they talk to Napoleon. We elevate them as superiors to their betters if they say they talk to a sadistic tyrant in the clouds.

    You might as well believe that Harry Potter is a “force of the love in the world.” It’s about as true as the invisible space buddies that idiots can make up and get other idiots to buy into.

  83. SAMUEL VETA says:

    U fucking moron………!!!!!!

  84. CStone says:

    I once read homophobia is the fear that gay men are going to treat you the way you treat women. I have a feeling Tom’s dad had/has that fear. He obviously rules his family with fear and intimidation – from his wife down to his children. Hard to pray for someone like that but, God help me, I’ll try.

  85. dsquared says:

    I love how Shan’e great grandmother explained that Shane and Tom’s love was a Romeo and Romeo kind of love and that people should “get over it”. If anyone woud have had issue it would have been her because of her age. I’m proud of Shane’s family and appalled at Tom’s.

  86. MattnKris0903 says:

    Very sad he was denied the right to be there at his funeral. Love is love. It’s the tale as old as time. In the end it stood up against the embarrassment of Tom’s family. I’m sorry you couldn’t live your son for who he was. Instead of what you wanted him to be. Tragic you both lost someone you loved but have to grief alone….

  87. Shanel says:

    How the hell is lying about who your child really is what’s “best for him”? Best for him or best for your pathetic excuse for a parent ego? I can assure you Toms spirit was right where he wanted to be during that display of shame at his funeral. It was beside Shane. Idiot behind a keyboard.

  88. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Well, you need to find the real story.

  89. scotty501 says:

    Im gonna take a wild guess that his parent are not educated people. Probably poor trash that live in the woods. Sounds like the weak mother followed her husband instead of the natural bond with her son. I almost hope she never “gets it” because the pain would be too great. My opinion

  90. scotty501 says:

    Dear Sad Sounds more like you don’t know the story. Thanks for speculating something negative though. Have a great day!

  91. Andy says:

    Bless you…Your loss and the family.

  92. Andy says:

    You are an idiot. What if he was your friend. I hate people like you because you just don’t get it.

  93. Andy says:

    I wish that parents (TOM”S) were not so dumb. This breaks my heart. Im alone and shallow. But I cant even imagine parents not loving. Tom’s mom can go to hell. That is where she belongs. Be against it but ….It hurts

  94. Lynn Marilyn Giseburt Miller says:

    This whole thing just breaks my heart….that parents can say they love there child…then do something so horrible to the people there son loves is unbelievable..and how can one ever forgive someone this mean……marriage is for two people who love each other,,,,,,it makes me sick to no there is still people like the bridegrooms in this world……if I had a son or daughter that was gay I would pray that they never. Have to go threw this……get real people…..love is love……sad tragic…there are still people this stupid in the. World…

  95. bryanbear says:

    One way around some of this mess my ex told me who is a lawyer is to adopt your partner. Legally you become the next of kin and families are powerless to do anything at all. Easy way to control things even in the case of will being contested! Hope this helps others!

  96. bryanbear says:

    Martha and Norman Bridegroom are pieces of shit. Any psychotic asshole that takes a loaded shotgun and tries to intimidate their own flesh and blood over an admission of sexuality are disgusting and dont deserve any sympathy and have the right to burn in hell where they belong next to old beelzebub! The calusness of what they did like the story above with with the forged car title are the worst examples of parents on the face of this earth! You cant control how your kids will turn out and they need to become who they are gonna be not what parents think they should be. I thank god everyday my parents were the exact opposite and when attending thanksgiving with a ex many years ago my mother told me to go introduce Joseph(ex boyfriend) to the family and if I didnt she would and if the relatives didnt like it was her house and they could leave if they didnt approve.

  97. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    Shane, I know how that lost feels. I lost my husband too. We all send love your way.

  98. randy says:

    when all the people have gone home, the sympathy cards stop coming,and the flowers have wilted, I hope when these evil people sit with themselves they are haunted constantly by the evil that is within them.

  99. Mike_in_the_Tundra says:

    How was that best for Tom? Those selfish parents did what was best for them.

    Normally parent’s don’t make final arrangements for their adult child. Those arrangements should be made by the person with whom they shared their life. My husband’s family allowed me to make his final arrangements. Bless them.

  100. Janet Davis says:

    Shane I just watched your love story and was so moved. I am so sorry how you were treated by Toms parents and how they mistreated their son. This is not the way he would have wanted it,we all know that. Some day you will be reunited with Tom and some day they will too. I would rather be you at that time. Like it was said in your story it is not a straight thing it is not a gay thing it is a human thing. Weather you are for or against gays that’s you opinion it does not give anyone the right to bully someone to the point they take their life,kill someone ,be unbelievably cruel to someone, stop them from having a certain job, having children, being part of their funeral, not letting them spend the last few minutes of their life together. I am going to tell everyone I know about this story and tell them to watch it and dare them not to cry at the in human way we as humans can treat each other. Thank God for your parents and friends I envy you , you found true love. Keep talking Thank You. By the way how you handled you self is unbelievable you rose above how most people would have acted. I pray for Tom’s parents it must eat at them every day to know how much they really didn’t know their son, and how they treat the love of his life. I personally could not deal with that. To me your kids are all that everything not just hunt and pick the whole package

  101. Alexine Law says:

    Shane demonstrates love for all even the parents who could not love and accept

  102. Liz Lobrutto says:

    God has a spicall place in Hell for these evil parents!!! they give Christians a bad name!!!

  103. Thankful 4 military says:

    Shane has replied very respectfully about his partners parents but as a parent myself that is straight all I can say is shame on Toms parents. Your son was happy & in love its a love you may not understand but it was just as much real as yours. Toms family should at very least reach out & apologize to Shane. I’m certain Tom would be ashamed of how his partner has been treated.

  104. isabel a says:

    i support the decision of the parents. They did what they thought was best for their son. We bring our children in this world as we see fit and we arrange as we see fit when they are gone.

  105. Diane m says:

    Those parents are already in eternal hell called guilt. They KNOW what they said and did to their precious son. Shame shame shame on them

  106. Wesley Cole says:

    I hope Norman Bridegroom dies a slow miserable life and Martha who followed his lead can die all alone and unhappy for as long as possible.

  107. st says:

    It was not suicide. He was photographing a friend on the roof of her building and fell. She witnessed it. Just a tragic accident.

  108. jp says:

    my last name was bridegroom I would bet these parents are relatives of some sort and I am ashamed of them for sure!!!!

  109. f3mm3fatal says:

    Watch the trailer- it’s great and the documentary airs on Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network tomorrow. Bridegroom was staging a photo-shoot of a friend on a roof top and misjudged his step and accidentally fell four stories to his death. I lost a close friend a few months ago in an almost identical tragedy. Luckily, my late friend and his partner were civilly unionized in Illinois last year and as a result, his surviving husband has been treated legally as a spouse and next of kin. I thank the stars every day for this and my heart aches for the pain of those in our community who haven’t been as fortunate.

  110. Sad in Oregon says:

    Lots of really sad parts to this story. I feel sorry for the parents, who never really gave their son a chance. It sounds like Bridegroom committed suicide but I wonder, honestly, what caused it. I’m sure not having his parent’s approval hurt, but I doubt that’s the reason. I think there is very little in my life that my parents have approved, but I wouldn’t take my life because of their disapproval. I don’t think it’s the parents fault… but I think it’s disheartening everything that happened after he died. I can’t imagine the pain of not burying my loved one where he’d want or being denied closure. Such a sad story.

  111. neescousin says:

    I have seen this occur. Though unfortunate, it happens. My recommendation to other couples whether they expect problems in the future or not, is to have wills and living wills in place, as well as power of attorney to halt such things from happening.

  112. sandra says:

    I thank you for sharing about findagrave. com. Also, as a straight person with an open heart for all couples, I thank everyone willing to support this movie, and this young man. Love is love. That is why my wedding officiant service is called Every Heart.

  113. cole3244 says:

    i must have hit a sore spot with another heartland of america phony.
    the results at the polling places make your argument specious but then again facts never get in the way of middle america and the inflated opinion they have of themselves which is undeserved.

  114. Donella says:

    The fact that you would generalize the entire middle of the country or all of rural America as bigots shows only your ignorance.
    It makes me wonder if you know any real people who live in rural America or are you just making your assumptions based on what you hear in the media?
    Times have changed out here in the country. Try to catch up.

  115. Johnny Smith says:

    As an aside to the reader’s comment about his partner’s grave being moved, he can do a search on findagrave.com. Most people don’t know about this site, and there are people who routinely list the funeral information and site of the burial, including cemetery. You can even request a photo and someone will take a picture of the grave and post it on the memorial. I’d be willing to bet this memorial is posted on the site and the parents don’t have a clue it’s there.


  116. ML says:

    As a Paramedic in NYC during the 80’s and 90’s when all that was going on I was always amazed at the compassion that the Gay community had for each other when the families of the stricken turned their backs.

  117. Butch1 says:

    They felt so entitled to everything that they trampled all over the surviving partner’s rights. Just dare to stand up for them. You were nothing but a “roommate” and nothing more. Do you want to go to court? That is the way they approach everything. If you want to fight them they will drag you into court and make you pay for your own things. They will publicly embarrass you. What claim do you have to their son’s property?

    Unless you are married you cannot keep these thieves away from you. They never come to visit until one of you dies then they sniff around to see what you are worth.

  118. Butch1 says:

    They think of themselves as “Christians.” How ironic to extend this much hate and still think that way.

  119. karmanot says:

    Somebody’s got to do it. It’s like mucking the stalls. :-)

  120. karmanot says:

    Back at the height of the plague years, these kinds of families would hire a truck and a chute tube to clear out the apartment before the partner came home from work to find it empty.

  121. BeccaM says:

    Good idea, Miss Dashwood. And I hadn’t known about that option — I’ll have to see if it’s available here in New Mexico.

  122. Ninja0980 says:

    That’s the other thing. I get why they wanted to wait for marriage but they have avenues to get legal protection and didn’t.
    They sadly made the mistake many young couples,gay and straight have made in thinking nothing bad will happen to them and thus don’t get any legal protection.

  123. Ninja0980 says:

    Sad to say but Shane and Tom’s stories and the homophobic families are NOT anything new.
    Horror stories like this were abound during the AIDS crisis in the 80’s and still happen today. That is why so many are fighting for marriage and the protection it brings.
    Protection that POA or wills,while nice things to have simply don’t offer.

  124. KevinCW says:

    In case anyone wants to utilize their First Amendment rights to free speech:

    Martha and Norman Bridegroom
    802 S Portland St
    Knox, IN 46534-1809


    And this information was freely available on the internet, so I’m not violating anyone’s privacy.

  125. Miss Dashwood says:

    Check the state you live in as well – some states (Arizona and Nevada are two I know of) allow you to register your advance directives with the Secretary of State’s Office in a virtual “lockbox” of sorts – just another level of legal protection.

  126. emjayay says:

    Yeah, people who weren’t around then or were unaware of it may not know that back when young guys were dying all over the place, and there were no marriage lite domestic partnerships available anyway plus the general public hadn’t moved anywhere near where they tend to be today on gay issues, exactly this kind of thing happened all the time.

  127. JayRandal says:

    Worst part of this story the mother whom hated her Gay son taking his body back to her state, and at same time demanding for his partner to pay the cost for it as well as funeral, but at same time not for
    him to attend funeral she demands for him to pay for. If I was that partner that lady would be told to hit the road and never come back. Then to top off outrage of this story the body was moved from location
    of burial so partner can never grieve at grave site. Wow flat out cruelty.

  128. The_Fixer says:

    “Readers of this site may wonder why I so furiously attack, and belittle troll bigots who venture to drop hate bombs here.”

    Oh, I know. Sometimes we all get tired of banging our heads against the wall. I try and use fact to fight them, but a lot of them are so thick that it’s not worth the expenditure of effort to try.

    I fully understand. And quite frankly, you do manage to pull off some artful responses :)

  129. Hue-Man says:

    Include a provision in the will that the estate will reimburse funeral expenses only if (hubby/boyfriend) directs – if the gay-hating family are going to act like body-snatchers, at least make them pay! (What sickens me is stories of the body-snatching next-of-kin scooping up all the assets of the intestate deceased – including real estate owned by the couple.)

  130. crazymonkeylady says:

    I <3 Nerds!

  131. Kim O'Brien says:

    we even have nuts here in CO that want part of the state to secede. Of course they can’t even SPELL secede …or science ..or evolution . They do not like all that book learnin ..they think it’s for commie fag kenyan socialists or something . That’s why their kids leave and the average age is like 62 . If it were up to them ..the toughest class in science would be the New Testament

  132. Kim O'Brien says:

    As a parent ..i am just gobsmacked . Who the hell does this ?? Well ..times they are a changin and there is nothing the bigots can do about it. I have an 11 year old daughter who is drop dead beautiful ….no ..i am not biased ..she really is ~and lemme tell you what …when she was little ..i was HOPING she would be a lesbian because once the boys start calling ..i might have to go against everything i believe in and buy a gun . Sad to say …she is not a lesbian . Still on the fence about the gun ..maybe a machete would make a better point. These parent are just flat out horrible people who hated their child …what a horrible thing for him to deal with…yearning for comfort from the man he loved .

  133. JayRandal says:

    Very sad story to watch and unfortunately why Gay partners have to have legal wills to protect them from their own families. Parents who don’t accept their child as Gay can be the worst of enemies. My hope to be married some day to another man. Whether his parents accept our relationship, or not, something that has to be addressed with legal protections. For myself I wouldn’t tolerate intrusions by them to take anything under any circumstances. In fact they wouldn’t be allowed to enter my house if they were anti-Gay. Same applies to my own mother and siblings. (My father is deceased now.)

    Years ago in Florida I had a younger partner whose parents didn’t know he was Gay. He told them
    he worked for me at my business and we just lived together as friends. After he went back to Vermont
    his parents found out he was Gay and blamed me for it. His parents live in broken down trailer and are
    homophobic bigots. Their son moved away to San Francisco and I have never seen him again.

    I believe you have to learn from past experiences to not repeat them. Therefore I can never accept
    another relationship with a guy whose parents ignorant about homosexuality. My partner has to be
    fully out as Gay to his parents. If they don’t like it that is their problem. We will have mutual wills.

  134. Mark_in_MN says:

    What I’ve been told is that wills may not be able do deal with funeral arrangements, burial, and the like. Those things happen quickly after death, while the process of probate can take some time even if a will is immediately available. Perhaps some people might give deference to instructions in a will, but not necessarily so, and it’s power to bind next-of-kin and others to particular funeral arrangements may be limited to nonexistent.

  135. pappyvet says:

    Denying comfort . Hatred is the most terrible Disease. Unlike any other harmful,debilitating disorder, it is one that people cling to.

  136. MichaelS says:

    I saw this when it first came out and was never so moved. It’s a heart-breaker, and I hope it gets wide circulation.. and I fervently hope and pray that Tom’s parents rot in hell. In excruciating pain. Sorry, there is no nice way to look at this. None.

  137. Hue-Man says:

    When this story first came out, my reaction was that they should have put all the paper in place to protect themselves and their property. I acknowledged that it was hard for a young couple to justify spending money on lawyers at a time in their lives when they were 100% certain of being immortal! One phrase makes me reconsider my comments: “…Tom’s parents blamed me for “turning” him gay, pulled a gun on him, and
    encouraged him to take his sinful sexuality to the grave with him.”

    This extreme behavior moved legal protections to the top of the priority list. Durable power of attorney/medical directive to control each other’s course of medical treatment (or a third party friend if you’re worried about a joint accident). Last will and testaments to deal with funeral arrangements, burial locations, and disposition of assets. I’ll stop with non-expert legal advice because each couple’s sistuation depends on their particular state and their assets.

    When dealing with “family” like this, assume the worst then ask the lawyer what they might think up that could make things even worse! Be aggressively defensive.

  138. benb says:

    I came across something called a “Springing Power of Attorney” which seems to be a Durable Power of Attorney that goes into effect if someone dies or is incapacitated. I wonder if that together with a Healthcare POA would protect couples who aren’t married and don’t want the financial entanglements of a Domestic Partnership.

  139. Outspoken1 says:

    Oh, there are Sheriffs and there are Sheriffs. Many follow the law per the jurisdiction they represent. But others interpret the existing laws to suits their beliefs. We are going through a situation here in Colorado where many Republican area Police Chiefs and Sheriffs do not want to enforce the minor gun control laws passed by the Colorado State Legislature and signed by the Gov. Hmmm… that would be against the law, wouldn’t it?



  140. karmanot says:

    rotfl Maybe ‘Q’ is up to his old tricks!

  141. Thom Allen says:

    It now comes up as 1746. Maybe he’s moved on and is reenacting the Battle of Culloden.

  142. karmanot says:

    Yep, it flabbergasts me

  143. cole3244 says:

    that you have to tell me your rw cousins approve of gay marriage just confirms my statement it doesn’t contradict it.
    i’m happy for you but others aren’t so fortunate and those are the ones i speak of.

  144. Monoceros Forth says:

    Indeed. Really for bigots of this stripe, it’s not about what the Bible says, it’s about what their parents and their friends and their pastor say about what the Bible says. But let’s be honest: if you can cite Scripture to support any belief, is there any point in citing Scripture for any purpose?

  145. tomtallis says:

    Yet Shane and Tom could have avoided all that if they had registered for a California Domestic Partnership which would have made them legal next of kin and prevented Tom’s parents from pulling the evil shit they pulled.

    It’s too late for Tom and Shane, but if you live in California and you’re planning that never to be forgotten wedding (which takes time to do right) and one or both sets of parents are hostile to your relationship then you need to go on to the California Secretary of State’s website (http://www.sos.ca.gov/dpregistry/) download the forms, sign them in front of a notary and send them in with the registration fee. When you do that you’re legally protected until the wedding. Please don’t have the problems Shane had. You don’t have to.

  146. Frank says:

    I am not sure I believe the story from your anonymous reader. A sheriff would not show up at a home without notice. The reader mentions a court order. The estate of the deceased, not the family, would have had to go to court, identify the property, get an order and then enforce the order through the sheriff. As the owner or tenant of the home where the decedent’s property resided, the “reader” would have received notice of the court proceedings and would have had an opportunity to challenge the claims, including the claim of title to the car. If he lost in court, he would have been ordered to voluntarily turn over the property by a certain date. If he failed to do that, only then would the sheriff become involved. And it is extremely unlikely that, if it got this far, that it would take place 3 days after the funeral.

    So either that story is BS or there are other issues involved not discussed.

  147. karmanot says:

    Tempest in a kat box!

  148. Mark_in_MN says:

    But it shouldn’t be dependent on having legal documents in order to have access to spouses, family members, significant others, even close friends who are hospitalized, who have died, or to find out what has happened to them from hospitals, health care providers, and government authorities. Even if they didn’t avail themselves to registering as domestic partners, even if they did have marriage available to them and they didn’t marry, even if they didn’t have health care directives available, there is much of the injustice here that simply shouldn’t have happened even absent those legal status or documents.

  149. The_Fixer says:

    Oh hell, we recently had a story here locally about a pair of wonderful parents who starved and tortured their kid.

    Sadly, we can’t ever underestimate the depths of evil to which some people will sink.

  150. nicho says:

    Yeah, it makes me feel a lot better. They’re scum of the earth and should be revealed as such. Decent people should shun them.

    Re: Romeo and Juliet. It was a 17-year-old boy and a 14-year-old girl. The whole affair last three days. And six people died. You may want to choose a better example.

  151. nicho says:

    The problem is that most people who claim to interpret the bible literally really don’t. They cherry-pick quite freely.

  152. nicho says:

    Not all “rights” are respected — even when you are domestic partners. I know of people with advance directives that were soundly ignored. In fact, the sad truth is that many are.

  153. Whitewitch says:

    Excellent point….

  154. dcinsider says:

    I hope Chris Christie sees this documentary and perhaps understands why, if his son is gay, his son might want the protections of a legally valid marriage. Of course, Christ Christie probably approves of the Bridegroom’s handling of this situation.

    If I am the Bridegrooms, I’d want to bury my head in the sand over the next several weeks. They got a ton of hurtin’ coming in their direction, and the power that much negative energy hurled at people can generate is something they will not want to experience.

  155. arcadesproject says:

    Hey, parents! Way to honor you son’s life and the people he loved!

  156. BeccaM says:

    That’s how I feel about it. Anybody who can be that deliberately cruel nurtures not love but evil in their hearts.

  157. NCMan says:

    I know this because this story has been reported on several times in the last year. The point is that I agree that there should be marriage equality in all states. But, until that time, all couples (gay or straight) should avail themselves to any and all rights available to them in order to avoid as much of this happening as possible.

    I understand they were young and didn’t think (like most young people) that either of them would die. They were waiting (according to the surviving partner) for full marriage equality instead of signing up as domestic partners. They could have protected themselves. But, that lack of legal protection still doesn’t make it right for the parents to be assholes.

  158. Indigo says:

    Venom? To resist evil is moral; to practice evil is venom. You put your judicial cap on backwards this morning.

  159. Indigo says:

    They’re evil. That’s all there is to it.

  160. Houndentenor says:

    If only there were just 5 sets of parents who were this awful. I’m afraid there are a lot more who care more about their imaginary friend in the sky than their own children.

  161. karmanot says:

    “saying hateful things about straight people and their feelings won’t change much except make you feel better. I ask you does it?” Yes, because you are obviously incapable of comprehending moral hazard.

  162. Monoceros Forth says:

    I am, if nothing else, a fund of scientific and mathematical trivia of all sorts. *wry smile* Which is why the only work I’ve been able to get is weed-pulling and suchlike. Not that I denigrate weed-pulling; it is an honorable function. But it’s a bit difficult sometimes to see my childhood dream of becoming a great scientist wither into ash.

  163. karmanot says:

    Readers of this site may wonder why I so furiously attack, and belittle troll bigots who venture to drop hate bombs here. It’s because of nearly thirty years of community work, wherein, vicious folks like the bridegrooms were the rule and not the exception. Rational discourses with these bigots are pointless. It can’t be emphasized enough: Get A Directive and POA and if possible a trust. Lawyers can charge a fortune for these, but with a little research you can create one based on templates with modifications suited to your situation. Ours is filed with Lambda legal Defense.

  164. Whitewitch says:

    Two questions:
    1. And you know this how?
    2. And your point?

  165. karmanot says:

    I wish it were that easy to generalize. My right-wing Republican cousins in the Mid West love me and my life partner of twenty years and approve of gay marriage.

  166. karmanot says:

    There are times M F when you just shine!!

  167. NCMan says:

    They were CA residents and they had the right to register as domestic partners in CA which would have given them all the same legal rights in CA as marriage. They chose not to.

  168. The_Fixer says:

    In answer to the question “are they the worst parents in the world?”: No, but certainly in the top 5.

  169. I know, I don’t know why. When I updated the story, it changed the URL, though I doubt the previous version had `1700 comments unless there was a mass troll invasion.

  170. Whitewitch says:

    I think you missed the entire point of this story – it was that they should have the right to marry so that they have the right to make decisions about the care of the person they love and so that the “parents” (and I use the term lightly) can not destroy what the two have built.

  171. Monoceros Forth says:

    Indeed. I think they loved some imaginary son who was like their real son but who was a good, God-fearing boy who did what his parents taught him to do.

  172. Mark_in_MN says:

    This story is so very sad and tragic. It breaks my heart whenever it has come up.

    Marriage equality would help a whole lot in situations like this. Its certainly useful when needing to assert legal rights or contest actions.

    But I can’t help but think that some significant parts of this story would or could be different if people simply behaved ethically and humanely, and then not retreat to legalisms. There is no reason that Shane should not have been able to visit Tom, see him after death, learn the particulars of what happened, and not be treated as a total stranger, based on nothing but a human recognition of a connection. It shouldn’t be a story about having or not having legal constructs to force things. Yes, we most certainly need marriage equality in all 50 states. It’s vital. But it shouldn’t have been needed here, as far as hospitals and other authorities were concerned. There is too much reliance on legalisms and not enough simple humanism. (This is also why I’m not a fan of things like medical powers of attorney and such. They simply shouldn’t be necessary. The problem is that we’ve constructed a world in which they have too often become necessary for people of all sorts and situations.)

  173. Monoceros Forth says:

    Apropos of nothing, when I reload the front page, for a second or two it shows the number of comments on this post as “1,729” before displaying the correct number. That’s very odd, especially since 1729 is the famous “Ramanujan number”, the smallest number that can be expressed as the sum of two integer cubes in two different ways (1 + 1728, 1000 + 729). Some Disqus programmer must have been having a bit of fun.

  174. Monoceros Forth says:

    Bigotry’s strongest pillar of support is social approval from fellow bigots. Bigots want to get a pat on the back for being bigots. One of the strongest weapons against bigots therefore is social disapproval. No doubt Mr. and Mrs. Bridegroom expect that they’ll get a nice ego boost from fellow Jesus freaks for treading their son’s love for his partner in the dirt. The least we can do is introduce just a bit of misery into their lives to repay their utter disregard for their son’s feelings.

    You don’t know they didn’t love their son–

    Oh yes I do. They might convince themselves that really by hating their son they actually love him; bigots are good at that. They hate the sin but love the sinner! They didn’t love their son, not the reality of their son. They loved or rather pretended to love some unreal image of him, some impossible ideal of a son who renounced his sinful ways and was the good robotic boy they wanted instead of the uncomfortable reality.

  175. cole3244 says:

    small town america is small minded america. its no wonder individuals who are different gravitate to the coasts and bigger cities that’s where they can blend in and avoid the bigotry of the heartland where you are accepted as long as you fit in and conform to the local bias and ignorance.
    i don’t know what tom’s mother & father think they are but they certainly aren’t parents.

  176. Actually, once we’re married, it makes all the difference in the world. No one cares if you like us. We just want you to go the fuck away :)

  177. tata says:

    You have no idea what you’re talking about. None.

  178. BeccaM says:

    Yes, exactly: Horrific acts of cruelty like this — and like those that have been experienced by thousands of other gay couples everywhere — are the proof as to why we simply cannot settle for less than full marriage equality rights.

    We need to be able to enter into a binding legal, government-protected relationship that is presumed automatically — legally and socially — to supersede any and all ‘family’ (read: blood-relative) rights.

    But JS below is right, although I’d extend it even further: If you don’t want your parents, siblings, or children making all life-or-death decisions for you, you need an advance directive, power of attorney, and a Will. Whether you’re gay or straight, married or not.

    Gay or straight, if you’re in a long-term committed relationship yet don’t want to marry, but do want your romantic partner to have those rights, as well as to inherit your property when you pass away, you need all those documents.

    If you’re gay or lesbian and have gotten married in a marriage equality state but live in a state that does not recognize your marriage, you should have directives, PoAs, and a Will drawn up to backstop the marriage license. Because you never know what kind of a douche-nozzle state judge your homophobic relatives could dig up if the unfortunate happened.

    Whether gay or straight, if you’re married (and if gay, live in a marriage equality state), it’s still a good idea to have that paperwork drawn up. Why? Terry Schaivo.

  179. js says:

    Moral of the story: All unmarried couples (gay or straight) should have advance directives and wills in place and legally on file as soon as you decide it’s “serious” at any age or any stage in life. Doesn’t even hurt to have this even if you are fortunate enough to live in a state where you can be married.

  180. StraightGrandmother says:

    Their pride in themselves was MORE important than having to tell friends and family that their son is, God Forbid (literally God Forbid), {{{gay}}}.

  181. njcronk says:

    It’s time for people to question the motives of those who insist on interpreting the Bible literally. The Bible is a historical document, and it was written and edited by people — people with flaws and agendas. It’s possible to believe in G-d as the force of the love in the world, and reject the stories of hate and violence in the Bible.

  182. Kat Mandoo says:

    I watched it and thought the idea isn’t new, people have been going through this years. Look at the story of Romeo and Juliet, lovers kept apart by their “foolish, backward, hater, whatever is the latest insult” parents. You don’t know they didn’t love their son, or any of the other things said just that they lost a son. Unless they were married, and not always then, the next of kin does what they feel is best. You may disagree but it is their right to do so.
    Hoping they rot or suffer or anything gets you where exactly? Nowhere. Will they be embarrassed by this? Probably not, who really is surprised when someone is gay in any family or setting. The town knew most likely, his friends and family also so who is hurt by this revelation of them being “gay” parents? All of this is speculation anyway and won’t be changed. Making marriage legal won’t change people’s feelings about it, and saying hateful things about straight people and their feelings won’t change much except make you feel better. I ask you does it? I hope so or all this venom would be wasted.

  183. nancyfromholland says:

    These parents probably didn’t even love their son. They just loved themselves and their petty ideas.

  184. Colin says:

    It could be assumed Tom’s parents wanted to pretend Shane didn’t exist both for their own selfish purposes and in an effort to “protect” the family name in their town. They were probably hoping no one in Knox would ever find out their son was gay. Ironically if they had just shown Shane some human decency, and allowed him the chance to say goodbye and attend the funeral, there may have never been a documentary. But now audiences worldwide will know the story of how horrifically they treated their own son, and the love of his life, simply because of who he was.

  185. Froggy says:

    You people against same sex marriages are NOT THE ONES TO JUDGE how anyone lives their own lives out. So many of you have hatred in your hearts. A same sex relationship should be treated the same as a bi-racial relationship. The point is EQUALITY!

  186. Anonymous says:

    Norman G Bridegroom

    Home: (574) 772-6987

    802 S Portland St

    Knox, IN 46534-1809Age:60-64

    Associated:Martha F Bridegroom

  187. Aiden says:

    The 2 people who were against same sex marriage didn’t even watch the video. They even said they didn’t watch it.

  188. Its2013peoples says:

    So sad. It takes terrible things like this to happen for someone to be heard. Stay strong Shane. You are going to be the person to change everything.

  189. diane905 says:

    I just watched it after my sister shared it with me on Facebook. I have a gay son. He told me when he was 12 and both me and my husband let him know we love him and everything about who he is. Tom’s parents were awful both before and after his death. I’m glad these young men shared the time together they were able to share. They looked so happy and beautiful.

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