Gay man handcuffed, forcibly removed from partner’s bedside at Missouri hospital

UPDATE: A former employee of Research Medical Center, and a current employee of a Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) subsidiary – HCA is the parent company of Research Medical Center – spoke out about this case and said that the hospital does not discriminate against “f*gs.”

UPDATE: Hospital issues new statement contradicting earlier statement to the police.

UPDATE: I just interviewed the daughter of Roger Gorley, the man arrested at his husband’s hospital bed.  Her eyewitness account directly contradict’s hospital’s official statement.  She also alleges HIV discrimination by hospital security.

Research Medical Center in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, forcibly removed a gay man, Roger Gorley, from his partner Allen’s bedside in handcuffs, even though the men had a joint power of attorney in order to make medical decisions for each other.

The men say the hospital refused to check for their medical power of attorney, even though they have one, and told the hospital they have one.

UPDATE: The hospital has released a statement via its Facebook page – the statement has a few problems:

We appreciate your concern and would like to assure you that Research Medical Center puts the care of our patients as our #1 priority regardless of sexual orientation. We support all the communities we serve. We have a long history of commitment to a culture of diversity. Research Medical Center was one of the first hospitals in Kansas City to offer domestic partner benefits, which have been in place since 2005, and we have had a policy specifically acknowledging domestic partners’ visitation rights in place for years.

This was an issue of disruptive and belligerent behavior by the visitor that affected patient care. The hospital’s response followed the same policies that would apply to any individual engaged in this behavior in a patient care setting and was not in any way related to the patient’s or the visitor’s sexual orientation or marital status. This visitor created a barrier for us to care for the patient. Attempts were made to deescalate the situation. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to involve security and the Kansas City MO Police Department.

We would also like to correct the misinformation about a restraining order. There was no issue of a restraining order by the hospital.

Yeah, but.  Let’s walk through this statement, shall we?

1. That’s nice that the hospital has had a policy about “domestic partner visitation rights” for years, but that’s not what this is about.  This is about an Obama administration regulation that says that a person can designate anyone – even a friend – to be in the room with them at the hospital, and their blood family can’t say boo.  So domestic partnerships are irrelevant, unless as I note below, a family member challenges the gay boyfriend, and the gay boyfriend needs to prove that he’s the relative in charge.  But again, domestic partnership docs are only one way of proving that – he could simply show that they live at their same address, via his photo ID.

2. Disruptive and belligerent behavior is irrelevant if the hospital didn’t follow the rules as laid out in the administration’s regulations, again explained in depth below.  For example, a store can not kick a black man out for being belligerent right after they’ve told him he has to leave because he’s black.  If they violate the law, or the rule in this case, and it upsets the person being injured, they can’t then claim his upset as justification for the earlier rule-breaking.  The hospital needs to explain, in detail, what was said to whom.

This is bs. This hospital appears to have possibly violated a US government regulating putting at risk their Medicare and Medicaid funding.  If they’re going to continue claiming that it was all the gay guy’s fault, then they need to tell us exactly what happened, or they can do the same thing to the next gay couple that comes to this or any HCA hospital.  They’re clearly not repentant, so they’re saying they’d do nothing differently in the future.  Fine, then what happened?

You can contact the Research Medical Center here via their Facebook page.  And there’s a bit more information here on Roger’s Facebook page, but it doesn’t really go into what happened at the hospital.

Interestingly, I’ve confirmed that the hospital appears to be covered by the Obama administration regulations issued a few years ago, which require hospitals to recognize gay partners.  More on that below, including what documents you do or do not need in order to prove you have the right to be with your partner at the hospital

Roger Gorley and his partner Allen

Roger Gorley and his partner Allen

The hospital now has a restraining order against the man – he is forbidden from visiting his partner in the hospital – and the hospital is now defending its actions, claiming they like to involve the “family” (they mean hetero family) in the decision.

“They dragged him to the floor, his glasses were knocked off, his hearing aids fell out of both ears.”

Research Medical Center is now accusing the man of being “disruptive”: How would you react if a hospital tried to forcibly remove you from the bedside of your spouse because they parents don’t like you, and then they refuse to even verify your medical power of attorney?



And I love this part of the story:

Research Medical Center says it does not discriminate based on sexual orientation or race.

Uh, yeah, you do.

How the Obama gay hospital visitation policy works

As you may know, the Obama administration fixed this hospital visitation problem a few years back.  Here’s what ABC reported at that time:

Patients at nearly every hospital in the country will now be allowed to decide who has visitation rights and who can make medical decisions on their behalf — regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or family makeup — under new federal regulations.

I’ve spoken to the administration and received details on how the new regulations work.  In a nutshell, the regs apply to any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding.  Research Medical Center’s Web site appears to confirm that the hospital takes Medicare and Medicaid in at least one area of their practice:


So Research Medical Center appears to be covered by the regs.  Now, here’s how the regs work.

1. The patient is coherent.  If the patient is awake, and coherent, they can designate anyone they want – even a friend – to be with them in the hospital, and no one – not even a family member – can trump that request, ever.  Even if the patient subsequently becomes unconscious.

From the administration’s guidelines:

“When a patient who is not incapacitated has designated, either orally to hospital staff or in writing, another individual to be his/her representative, the hospital must involve the designated representative in the development and implementation of the patient’s plan of care.”

2. If the patient is unconscious or not coherent, and has not previously stated who they wish to be their representative, by their side, etc., the hospital MUST accept your word that you are a partner, family member, significant other, etc.  No documentation is needed, UNLESS someone else claims that THEY are the patient’s representative instead of you.  So here are the two scenarios:

A) Patient is unconscious and no family member challenges you.  Hospital must accept your word, period – no documentation needed.  From the guidance:

“When a patient is incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate his or her wishes, there is no written advance directive on file or presented, and an individual asserts that he or she is the patient’s spouse, domestic partner (whether or not formally established and including a same-sex domestic partner), parent (including someone who has stood in loco parentis for the patient who is a minor child) or other family member and thus is the patient’s representative, the hospital is expected to accept this assertion, without demanding supporting documentation, and must involve the individual as the patient’s representative in the development and implementation of the patient’s plan of care.”e.”

B) Patient is unconscious and family member does challenge you.  Hospital can ask for proof from you and the family member proving your status.  From the guidance:

“In such cases [when more than one individual claims to be the patient’s representative], it would be appropriate for the hospital to ask each individual for documentation supporting his/her claim to be the patient’s representative.  The hospital should make its determination of who is the patient’s representative based upon the hospital’s determination of who the patient would most want to make decisions on his/her behalf.  Examples of documentation a hospital might consider could include, but are not limited to, the following:  proof of a legally recognized marriage, domestic partnership, or civil union; proof of a joint household; proof of shared or co-mingled finances; and any other documentation the hospital considers evidence of a special relationship that indicates familiarity with the patient’s preferences concerning medical treatment.”

So worst case scenario, you simply need to show that you share a joint household (a driver’s license with the same address should do).  If you don’t have that on you, then you might have to go home and get an electric bill, proof of your marriage or civil union, a joint bank statement, etc. Or in the case of these guys, you would get your medical power of attorney.

What the hospital needs to do to implement the policy fairly

And keep in mind, the hospital would need to do a few things here, I believe:

1. The hospital would need to challenge the blood-family member and the gay partner equally – both must be asked for documentation of their status.

2. The hospital needs to inform both of them what kind of documentation would suffice.  For example, if gay partners says “we have a medical power of attorney,” hospital should respond,” great, since you’re being challenged by the other guy, you need to show it to me, but in the meantime, if you simply have a drivers license or a bill showing you both have a joint residence, that’s enough.”  It’s unclear whether the hospital did its due diligence in explaining the policy, and what would meet the requirements of the policy.

And finally, the hospital is on thin ice, I think, by claiming the gay partner was disruptive. Of course he was.  Because, potentially, they were violating his rights.  It would be akin to not permitting someone to enter a grocery store because they’re black, then when they get disruptive saying “we kicked you out because you were disruptive.”  If the hospital didn’t meet its due diligence in implementing the regulations, they can’t kick the guy out for getting ticked off about it, IMHO.

And finally, the Obama administration does have enforcement power here.  If the hospital refuses to comply with the regs, if in fact they haven’t, the administration has the power to cut off the hospital’s participation in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

GOP Gov. Walker of WI opposes hospital visitation rights for gay couples

As an aside, you might recall that GOP darling governor of Wisconsin, Scott Walker, has been trying to take away hospital visitation rights from gay couples in that state.  Not only does the Republican party not want to let us marry, they want to force us to die alone.

Perhaps not surprisingly, outside of GOP circles – and Missouri – hospital visitation rights aren’t that controversial. From our reporting a few years back:

Public opinion polls show that those measures are widely supported, at times by more than 8 in 10 Americans, even though fewer than half of poll respondents typically support same-sex marriage.“I think it’ll be relatively noncontroversial,” said Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster in Virginia. “In this day and age, basic rights are deemed to be accorded to everyone. This allows him to give something to his base without worrying too much about backlash on the other side.”

Republican leaders and potential presidential candidates were uncommonly quiet on Friday, suggesting that Mr. Obama had located a rare bit of breathing room on a political landscape that is often crowded, contentious and noisy.

(H/t JoeMyGod)

CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | 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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114 Responses to “Gay man handcuffed, forcibly removed from partner’s bedside at Missouri hospital”

  1. MimiBoss says:

    There are so many hospitals out there that discriminate against gays. I particularly found their practices repulsive. Your sexual orientation should not be in the way of where and how you are treated. Obviously, someone is not telling the truth in this story. To make things easier on cases such like this, we came out with this new App “Legal Recorder” which gives us the possibility to record important conversations and this can later on being used as evidence. Check out our website: for more informations.

  2. debiannj says:

    Trying to be open-minded about this. Where is the video? I’ve read the blogs, and the facebook pages. The only videos I’ve seen do not match eyewitness accounts, even the slightest. In fact, only one of them even mentions that the patient’s BROTHER was in the room.

  3. Fatty Patty Lew says:

    I’m getting a strong “I beat my husband” vibe from Roger Gorley.

  4. Fatty Patty Lew says:

    Yeah, she isn’t biased at all.

  5. EdM01 says:

    In many of these states the pols have already left the 18th century behind… travelling in the opposite direction!

  6. EdM01 says:


  7. Car man says:

    First of all to the former employee of the hospital, you gave a perfect example of the lame Mentality of the staff in general ! Good job *** **** ! Second, that hospital made a really stupid decision! Sounds like its really going to cost them!! Maybe the staff of the hospital needs to have a meeting with the President of the U.S. and explain that one!

  8. Mr.Wonderful says:

    Who ever wrote this story should do more research. First Research Medical Center isn’t in Lee Summit it is in Kansas City. Second, see video tape of the incident… that should clear things up.

  9. Tam O. says:

    My partner & I have been together for twenty years, and live in Kansas City. We have medical power of attorney for each other. My doctors practice at Research Medical Center, and this story horrifies me. I have been in other hospitals in the area in the past, and we have had no trouble. I am seriously considering changing physicians due to this incident. I cannot risk the possibility of being treated the same way at Research. KC physicians who practice at Research should consider that there will be others who will feel the same. Our sympathies are with Roger and Allen. Allen’s family and the hospital staff involved should be ashamed.

  10. Chez K. Ruf says:

    unfortunately the loveless christians you speak of cast a cloud of shame on all of us. but please know that there are christians out there, me included, that believe that our final commandment is to love one another. please take some time to familiarize yourself with christian allies that believe in love and not judgement and condemnation. it may help you to reorganize who ‘us’ and ‘them’ are.

  11. BeccaM says:

    That’s my hope, that one day our fellow citizens will wake up and realize it just wrong for us to be debating the civil rights of our minorities, much less putting them up for popular votes or enduring situations where we have rights in some places but not in others.

  12. who foots the bill says:

    I wonder who was footing the bill for the guy’s treatment. If it was his family, that could be why the hospital was so unhospitable. If his own insurance was paying for it, then not only was the hospital acting against personal needs, it was acting against a contract and should be challenged on that basis. If the husband was paying for it, I GUARANTEE YOU the hospital would never have considered acting like they did.

  13. samizdat says:

    Re: your last paragraph. Mea culpa, BeccaM. I misinterpreted what you had said previously with regards to visiting MO. I hadn’t thought of it from that perspective, even though I’ve read your past posts on your family with some small degree of shock. Giving it further thought, I realize that for most American gays, traveling within their *OWN COUNTRY can be like negotiating a minefield. As you say, and I note, there are good people, but with the presence of the authoritarian mindset, and the authoritarian follower, working within the government and other institutions, the possibility of having the wishes of yourself or your wife contradicted, or worse, countermanded or ignored is too great.

    As it seems though, it will only be a matter of time before the ignorance and influence (and effluence!) of a small group of bigots will cease to have any impact upon the public’s opinions. What would be even better is their consignment to oblivion and indefinite irrelevance.

    Now if we could only get rid of Drone-bama and his fellow travelers in the National Party, and the his pimps in the boardrooms of industry.


  14. Buford says:

    Actually, the patient does not have to be “awake and alert enough to tell hospital staff who he wants to be able to visit him”, as you wrongly asserted. The federal regulations as excerpted above are pretty clear that this is not a requirement, and that the hospital has to accept a visitor’s claim that he is supposed to be there unless that claim is challenged… and then they have to evaluate the challenges fairly based upon supporting docs and evidence.

  15. George Melby says:

    I don’t know what the hell is going on at RMC-Lee’s Summit but I’ll tell you one thing… this bastard hospital chain is bigoted from top to bottom! Their comments mean nothing! Nor do their faux rules. I worked at this RMC Brookside (since closed) and on E Meyer Boulevard and they both were bigoted and anti-GLBT from the git-go! Only two Chaplains (another woman and myself) would take calls to gay patients (the other Chaplains were too gutless, as faux christians go!) Ohhhh yes, I will never forget this hospital chain owned and operated by HRC.
    I knew this sh*t would happen some day! Nice going, you Christians at RMC-HRC!

  16. Jon Savage says:

    trust Me it has hit google

  17. Chip Council says:

    You rock dude! If Fox read their own damn blogs they would have better information. They are now saying demonizing the poor guy and saying they could not get him for a comment.

  18. BeccaM says:

    No problem. I wasn’t sure either, because I know for a fact I read one mainstream account that just said that Roger had become disruptive and belligerent and wouldn’t leave, no mention of Allen’s brother at all. And the only one that seems to go anywhere is the KC Fox station.

    Glad in any case that what’s out there isn’t leaving out huge chunks of the real story, although I suspect there’s even more we don’t know about.

  19. SkippyFlipjack says:

    that’s not actually true — this was posted here at 9am PST and when I read it at 10am the original article on mentioned the issue with the family, so I brought it up at the time.

  20. karmanot says:

    “If this was a married male female couple this would not be news.” That’s the whole point Dr. denial.

  21. karmanot says:

    That homophobe nurse needs to be outed. Maybe then she will realize the consequences of bigot hate. Don’t turn the other cheek or love your enemy—-kick them in the ass and run over them.

  22. karmanot says:

    Boy, does this ever stir up bitter and grieving memories. Almost ,just unbelievable that it’s happening again.

  23. karmanot says:

    “I find it flabbergasting that they can’t bury their prejudice and homophobia” Oh, believe me I’ve seen worse. I’m just surprised the family didn’t clean out the house, while the partners were together at the hospital.

  24. mark_in_toronto says:

    I’m just wondering how much of this Americans are going to take.
    If the law is on your side and you still get discriminated against, what is the next step? Court? Internet coverage? A blurb on the news? That’s obviously not helping as incidents like this one are happening more and more.
    Since when are the acts of bigots, self-rightous religious nuts, homophobes and under-trained and under-educated administrators considered a legitimate side of any altercation?
    I keep saying it . . . America, you’re just asking for it.

  25. BeccaM says:

    An earlier version of the story posted by the KC Fox affiliate that later updated it.

  26. lynchie says:

    I guess I meant that was all he wanted to do. His family I surmise don’t approve of their relationship and I find it flabbergasting that they can’t bury their prejudice and homophobia and think of their relative who is sick and what he wants.

  27. mike31c says:

    And civilized people wonder why we look down on states like Missouri and the south in general. Glad I do not live in this backwards and ignorant state and I will be glad when these fools finally leave the 18th century behind.

  28. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Great work, John!!!

  29. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Which story doesn’t mention Roger’s husband’s family?

  30. BeccaM says:

    I just read it. Thanks very much, John, for doing the journalistic legwork to get an eyewitness account of what happened.

    The various news links I began following all kept leaving out important details.

  31. BeccaM says:

    I suspect your interpretation of events is closer to what really happened, versus the various reports that each leave out some important detail.

    Like I said, that linked story above doesn’t mention Roger’s husband’s family at all — although it’s been clear from the get-go they were involved in the initial ejection.

  32. I just posted an interview I did with the daughter of the man who was handcuffed, she was present.

  33. Well, read what the daughter just told me, in an eyewitness account, then tell me if you think we’re overreacting:

  34. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I’m a shill for honest reporting, that’s all. Excluding any mention of the family, as John did initially, is misleading. Surely you can’t think that “Hospital puts man in handcuffs for wanting to visit sick spouse” is an accurate and honest summary of events, right? When this all settles down I think I’ll agree with you, but I like to get all the facts before jumping to judgment.

  35. SkippyFlipjack says:

    LOL. You do realize this validates my earlier point of view, right?

  36. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Duh! That’s been circulating on the internet for HOURS. Too bad you didn’t bother to look around a bit before falling all over yourself to shill for the fucking hospital, just like you fell all over yourself to shill for the fucking Associated Press.

    Both times–WRONG.

  37. Skeptical Cicada says:

    There is no contest between a brother and a spouse. The spouse wins. Period.

    And the hospital itself admits that it has a domestic partner policy–which obviously wasn’t applied by the nurse that the patient’s own kid characterizes as an anti-gay Christian.

  38. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Ignore the shilling apologist for bigotry.

  39. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Oh, look, the shilling apologist for bigotry is back being a shilling apologist for bigotry again. You should have learned your lesson when the AP cut your legs out from under you by withdrawing that discriminatory memo you were aggressively defending.

  40. Stev84 says:

    FYI, there are tons of countries that don’t have security personnel in hospitals and they do just fine.

  41. Skeptical Cicada says:

    Piecing the multiple reports together–and now seeing just how manipulative this hospital is willing to be in its public statements–I’m guessing that the bigoted brother-in-law wanted the partner removed, the hospital sided with the bigot, a heated argument ensued, and the bigoted nurse ordered everyone out of the room, when the partner justifiably resisted, the bigoted nurse called security.

    And since the hospital’s manipulative statement deliberately refuses to discuss what its bigoted nurse did, we are entitled to assume the worst. if they’d like to correct our assumption, let them issue yet another statement.

  42. SkippyFlipjack says:

    It’s funny that you’re offended by someone making assumptions about what happened, then you declare that you strongly suspect it was because of a bigoted nurse. Nice.

  43. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Read what was posted below from the Stranger blog from a family member of Roger’s, it describes what sounds like a bit of a chaotic scene the nurses had to deal with..

  44. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Thanks for finding that.

  45. SkippyFlipjack says:

    Yeah, I’ve been wondering if there was a distinction. For a lawyer John A. sometimes skips over what you’d think are pretty relevant legal facts..

  46. lymis says:

    I hate to disagree with this, especially since I agree with your sentiments completely. But as I understand it, a Durable Power of Attorney doesn’t grant visitation rights – just the right to make medical decisions. If they wanted to be big enough dicks about it, they could do that over the phone, even with him barred from the hospital.

    I wish I was wrong, but I have seen this in a number of places today posted by people who seem to know what they are saying.

  47. lymis says:

    Check the comments on the Stranger’s SLOG – the family member didn’t just “ask him to leave.”

    One of the supportive in-laws gives a lot more detail:

    More from the slog:

    These are my brother-in-laws. The same day that Allen went into the hospital they were scheduled to leave on a vacation. Roger did nothing wrong other than simply refusing to leave Allen’s bedside. Lee, Allen’s younger brother, who has never liked Roger, got into an arguing match with Roger and got very hateful and nasty, saying that Roger was taking Allen on some “gay vacation so he can get butt f****d by 50 guys”. Apparently, Lee thinks that’s what it is to be gay/homosexual.
    He has no concept or understanding that they have shared a loving relationship for the last 5 years. Lee told the police and nurse that Roger was mistreating Allen. Roger told the nurse that he was Allen’s partner and had every right to be there and they shared power of attorney. He did raise his voice at the nurse saying he had the right to be there and she needed to make Lee leave because he was upsetting Allen. So the nurse apparently didn’t appreciate being yelled at by Roger and immediately called security. So I guess that’s what you call
    being disruptive?
    Posted by maria71 on April 11, 2013 at 10:40 AM

    The worst part is when Roger tried to explain to the nurse that he had the legal right to be there and that he and Allen had joint power of attorney she wouldn’t even hear it. He tried to explain that they make medical decisions for each other and it wasn’t up to Allen’s brother Lee or his sister Pat. In fact Lee hadn’t seen Allen since X-mas! He never calls or goes to see Allen or Roger. Pat only visits when she needs something! The policy took Roger to the ground. Bear in mind he’s early 50’s with grandchildren, his glasses got knocked to the floor, both his hearing aids got knocked out of his ears. Was it really necessary for 2 young police officers to be that aggressive? And they did this in front of Allen who was already traumatized!
    Posted by maria71 on April 11, 2013 at 12:33 PM

  48. Skeptical Cicada says:

    I think your stampede to defend the hospital is offensive.

    The hospital’s statement says NOTHING about whether it treated the man like a spouse or, as I strongly suspect, had a bigoted nurse siding with bigoted family members in refusing to apply the domestic partner policy.

    What was the cause of the “grief”? The hospital’s statement deliberately avoids any mention of anything before the man just suddenly, mysteriously became “belligerent.”

  49. BeccaM says:

    I think you need to re-read the story. According to Roger, he was barred from visiting his husband because a member of his husband’s family objected to his presence, and initially the hospital backed up this family member.

  50. mirror says:

    Yup. Exactly like that.

  51. Doc says:

    I think this article is a bit of an over reaction. I work in a hospital and we have security there for a reason. While some people deal with grief quietly, some become abusive and cannot be talked down. If this was a married male female couple this would not be news. While homophobia exists, there is a chance that the partner was just being inappropriate in a way that interferred with the hospital functioning or with other patients care.

  52. BeccaM says:

    I know. That nightmare didn’t come out nowhere, nor was it irrational to have had it.

  53. Ninong says:

    I guess I should have added that Allen has a Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare Decisions on file with that hospital that designates his husband, Roger, as the person who will make all healthcare decisions. So, in this case, the “husband” was the only person legally authorized to make any requests that someone leave the room and not the other way around.
    The hospital staff refused to even check their own files for that DPOA even after Roger told them about it. They ordered him out of the room simply because Allen’s family member demanded it.

    That’s what the hospital admitted in their statement when they said they like to “involve the family.” The hospital was in clear violation of President Obama’s order to all hospitals accepting Medicare and Medicaid. They have no choice in the matter. They must recognize whomever the patient designates to make healthcare decisions whether that person is a family member or not.

  54. karmanot says:

    That wasn’t just a dream Becca, but what sick gay men lived through under the Reagan Administration.

  55. BeccaM says:

    I’m sure there are plenty of fine folks in Missouri. In fact, one of my bestest-ever gal-pals is from there.

    There’s not a state in the Union where there aren’t fine, accepting, gay-friendly folks, even in the deepest Red states. The problem is when anti-gay animus is institutionalized in the state’s legal system and accepted practices.

    Assuming the story played out as described in the post above, Roger Gorley was, despite a gay-friendly official hospital policy, treated differently than if it had been his wife in that hospital bed, as opposed to his husband.

    The reason I said what I did above about not being able to travel to Missouri is specifically because my family is exactly the kind which would try to bar my wife from visiting me and making medical decisions on my behalf, despite us being married for 14+ years. Now, if as one story link indicated the hospital has since relented, that’s better…but it’s still sad that it happened at all.

  56. just do a search for the hospital on Facebook and it should pop up.

  57. nicho says:

    So, he was “disruptive.” What would a heterosexual husband do, if his wife’s family ordered him to leave her hospital room. My guess is that he’d become pretty freaking disruptive too.

  58. samizdat says:

    Hey, we’re not all bad. Come visit St. Louis. Big LGBT community here. Not to mention my wife and I. Now you know why I refer to those parts of Missour-ah as the Confederate State(s) of America. But even then, good people abound. We’re all trying here, just like most of the folks in other states dominated by a retrograde Repuke Leg.

    What’s really sad is that Missouri was once a fairly progressive state, but I suspect that may have had to do with the larger population of St. Louis and her Leg representatives in the past. Another side-effect of sprawl and suburbanization (and exurbanization!) in this country.

  59. BeccaM says:

    Update: Apparently the hospital has relented and will allow Roger to visit his husband after all.

    No details in the story though as to how or why they reversed their decision. The hospital is claiming there were to be no visitors and don’t mention the family at all.

  60. SkippyFlipjack says:

    I agree, but the “legally” part, in this case, is many times as important as “socially” and “symbolically”.

  61. BeccaM says:


    And they ask why the word “marriage” — legally, socially, and symbolically — is so important to us… Here’s an object lesson into the exact reasons why. If that had been a wife named “Allie” rather than a husband named Allen on that bed, they’d never have kicked Roger out.

  62. SkippyFlipjack says:

    In Missouri legally there’s no husband.

  63. Jon Maas says:

    I hope he sues the shit out of them. If someone starts a legal defense fund for him, I’ll contribute.

  64. bandanajack says:

    up until a few years ago, their policy would have been standard and legal. it isn’t any more. some enterprising lawyer needs to jump on this and sue the sh!t out of that hospital. of course if that hospital is the only hospital in the area that has a psych unit, apparently the reason for multiple admissions there, they might want to accept an apology and some considerations on non-covered expenses…or better yet, move away from that god forsaken neighborhood on their new found wealth.

  65. Ninong says:

    By the hospital’s own statement, they screwed up! They say they like to involve the family but they’re talking about the member of Allen’s family who was already present in the room who asked his husband to leave as soon as he got there. That person should not have been recognized by the nurse as having any authority whatsoever to make such requests. Legally it was only the husband who had the authority to make requests.

    The hospital staff recognized the wrong person as family.

  66. BeccaM says:

    Back when I first married my wife, I literally had a recurring nightmare where, for some bizarre reason, I was in a hospital in Pennsylvania, and my parents refused to let me see her.

    I was restrained to the hospital bed because (in the dream) I kept ripping out the tubes and trying to leave. As a consequence, my father was petitioning to have me transferred to the psychiatric wing for involuntary commitment… and let’s just say the dream didn’t go much further than being rolled on a gurney down a long hallway, Jacob’s Ladder style. At that point, I always woke up from the terror.

    No one should have to endure what just happened to Roger Gorley.

  67. karmanot says:

    Damn right he would!

  68. karmanot says:

    It’s just like the old days when the ‘family’ who rejected the gay son and ignored him for years showed up to collect the goodies left behind and all but hired a truck and window chute to hasten the process.

  69. HolyMoly says:

    Another problem with the hospital’s statement:

    “There was no issue of a restraining order by the hospital.”

    I could be barking up the wrong tree, but sometimes the choice of one verb over another, particularly when a politician or business is in full-on damage-control mode, is not chosen arbitrarily. A red flag went up in my mind over the word “issue.”

    Of course the hospital didn’t “issue” a restraining order. Only a judge has the authority to “issue” one. But in order for a judge to issue one, a complainant must first FILE for a restraining order.

    So, did the hospital issue a restraining order? I believe them when they say they didn’t. Did the hospital FILE for a restraining order, and did they get it? That’s what I want to know. Using one word in the place of another makes their statement technically truthful, but extremely misleading.

  70. karmanot says:

    Now I understand why my ancestors left Missoura.

  71. karmanot says:

    This brings back nightmares of twenty years ago and WE won’t stand for it. Viral it is!

  72. karmanot says:

    What’s the Facebook connection?

  73. karmanot says:

    Call and send e-mails while the lines are open.

  74. karmanot says:

    They are right.

  75. karmanot says:

    I called and left a message! The line’s still up. CALL!

  76. caphillprof says:

    If the feds won’t act then the gay community needs to.

  77. mirror says:


    The removal of Roger Gorley from his life partner Allen’s bedside in handcuffs at the behest of “family” when he had power of attorney for Allen which trumped anything the “family” could say, was not only illegal, it was inhuman, immoral, and unethical. Most of all- it spit on the rights of your patient to be treated with dignity and respected as a person. You treated him like a piece of meat.

    You should publicaly admit your wrong doing, apologize to the patient, apologize to his partner, and announce a clear plan for how you are going to implement both the letter and spirit of the law of access for gay and lesbian partners.

  78. A_nonymoose says:

    Sam Clemmons was a man of his era, yet he saw past what people took for granted and in his own way denounced slavery for what it was; Huck Finn decided he was “going to hell” for helping Jim escape, and did it anyway. I’d like to think he would know what was right in this era as well.

  79. Drew2u says:

    To take up His sword and His shield, of course.
    They really believe they’re in an actual “us vs. them” war, don’t they?

  80. Drew2u says:

    Or both being the same thing if you’re straight ;)

  81. BeccaM says:

    Abominable. Reprehensible. Sickening.

    I guess Missouri is another of the states where my wife and I dare not travel…

  82. BeccaM says:

    Yep. This needs to go viral, so that the next hospital that seeks to forcibly eject — and worse, get a restraining order against the spouse of a patient for no other reason than the couple is gay — thinks twice about doing the same thing.

  83. Indigo says:

    Missouri, huh? Lotta hate out there in Mark Twain country. He’d have something to say about that, wouldn’t he? or would he . . . ?

  84. SkippyFlipjack says:

    As quoted above, this is the key point here: “In such cases [when more than one individual claims to be the patient’s representative], it would be appropriate for the hospital to ask each individual for documentation supporting his/her claim to be the patient’s representative.“. Instead they just took the word of the aggressive party and kicked the other party out.

  85. SkippyFlipjack says:

    The hospital didn’t kick him out because the guy was comforting his spouse, they did so because the sick man’s shi!tty family told him to leave and he, of course, wouldn’t, and Missouri favors blood relatives over spouses if you’re gay.

  86. A_nonymoose says:

    There is so much hate in this country. So. Very. Much. (Shakes head) What was it Jefferson said, “If God is just, I tremble for my country.” Something like that?

  87. samizdat says:

    Done, and done.

  88. karmanot says:

    Lambda Legal Defense, are ya listening? Get off your asses and go to it!

  89. Drew2u says:

    (And thank you for covering Scott Walker’s hideous acts, as that Kochsucker’s memoir/book is in production and he’s, if not running for higher office, will be running again for governor and his action on this matter needs to be kept in the public eye)

  90. samizdat says:

    Lee’s Summit…Why am I not surprised.

  91. mirror says:

    I think that makes is just as bad or worse, because the hospital is then taking sides with “family” in opposition to the life decisions of the individual patient. That changes it from general policy to a targeted anti-gay intervention against an individual. I think it is important to remember here that the primary rights infringed up were those of the patient.

  92. karmanot says:

    Just did. The site hasn’t crashed yet——- keep at it folks.

  93. Skeptical Cicada says:

    The fatal flaw in the Obama regs has always been that there is no effective enforcement mechanism.

    The regs make clear that you cannot sue. The only enforcement mechanism is the threat to cut off the hospital’s federal funding–a response that is so nuclear that it can’t practically be used in one patient’s case.

    This is why some of us at the time said these regs were hardly worth the paper they were written on. One may recall that these regs appeared amid the full Blue Dog meltdown of the first two years, when the administration was refusing to move ANY significant gay legislation and was terrified of anything but something like hospital visitation. These regs were largely a political gimmick to trump up an “accomplishment” to give straight Democrats a pretext to call us “selfish” and tell us all to shut the fuck up and get in the back of the line.

  94. MichaelS says:

    So does anyone know what’s the immediate upshot of this situation, what can be done, what is being done? The ejected partner now has a restraining order against him. Can he get a lawyer to immediately get that lifted (time is of the essence here) and gain his rightful access? Anyway to involve the DOJ on an emergency basis? Just one quick call to the hospital’s attorneys alerting them to the jeopardy into which they have put their Medicare funding would move mountains in a minute. I’m afraid by the time the legal system trudges along, the poor man’s partner will have passed on (it sounds serious) and the hospital will chalk it up to a “clerical error” and sorry for then “inconvenience”. And oh, by the way, there are no quantifiable damages to award, so sorry about that, too…

  95. karmanot says:

    Make sure the story grows legs.

  96. karmanot says:

    We have our POA’s on file with Lambda Legal Defense in SF. Bring it on!

  97. FoxIsForRetards says:

    Contact them here:

  98. Webster says:

    A petition has been started:

  99. nicho says:

    If you’re a right-wing Christian, god is glorified when you make other people unhappy.

  100. S1AMER says:

    That’s my point: If the papers don’t work, get a supportive lawyer as soon as you can.

    One correction, on the terrible case in Florida: The two women didn’t actually have their documents with them at the time one was stricken, though the healthy woman was able to arrange after some hours for somebody back home to fax copies. Not that anybody at the hospital actually cared, ’cause they continued to treat the healthy woman (and two of their children who were with them) as legal-stranger nobodies.

  101. lynchie says:

    They will issue the standard “if we offended anyone we are sorry crap”. To not even check to see if there was a power of attorney on file shows this as utter incompetence.

  102. pappyvet says:

    What we have to realize is that laws,decency,care,love, pain or fair play, do not matter to wingers unless you belong to the tribe and adhere to the tribe’s rules. Depth of emotion is not an issue unless you first meet the criteria. It speaks volumes about their emotional makeup

  103. Stev84 says:

    Even if you have all your papers that’s no guarantee that they will honor it. It was exactly such a case that triggered the White House to issue those directives. A couple vacationed in Florida. One had an aneurysm and the other one had all her documents, but they refused her.

    There was also that case in Nevada several months ago where a lesbian couple was mistreated by a hospital even though they were in a Domestic Partnership.

  104. SkippyFlipjack says:

    The hospital’s actions are abominable and they’re clearly ignoring the sick guy’s wishes, but in the interests of full understanding of the story you should note this key fact you left out:

    He says when he got there, a member of Allen’s family asked him to leave.

    So the hospital is apparently trying to navigate the area between blood relatives and spouses. They’re making the wrong choice but it sounds like a contentious situation that’s a little more complicated than it seems from the above.

  105. Webster says:

    There is, apparently, an “Ethics Compliance Officer,” Liz Tremain, (816) 276-3306, at the Research Medical Center. I called, left a message, and asked politely if the Ethics Office was going to release a statement explaining just how this was “ethical.”

  106. I weighed in on their Facebook page, which is full of angry comments about it. I’ll stay posted on the story–I hope the hospital responds with an apology and commitment to properly training its staff.

  107. PalmSpringsRod says:

    This makes me sick. My partner and I have a medical power of attorney as well. I can believe that in Missouri they refused to check and see if they had one. The hospital is at fault but I bet they won’t be held responsible (it is Missouri you know). I always have a copy of my power of attorney in my car and on me when traveling to prevent these kinds of things from happening.

  108. Charles says:

    I’m not really sure how marriage was protected by this move, or how God was glorified, frankly.

  109. S1AMER says:

    Protest the hospital.

  110. S1AMER says:

    The federal policy has two flaws: (1) Lots of hospitals still claim they never heard of it (they were notified, but I suspect many hospitals didn’t bother to train their staff or even inform them about the policy), and (2) A patient must be awake and alert enough to tell hospital staff who he wants to be able to visit him. And, of course, there’s always: (3) Federal regs are meaningless in the face of a hostile hospital staffer (doctor, nurse, orderly, admissions clerk, janitor, whomever).

    Always keep two things close to hand: Each other’s medical powers of attorney, and your lawyer’s business card. If the former doesn’t work, get the latter to make some noise.

    And do, everybody, make sure you have health care powers of attorney for each other, and that each of you also has advanced medical directives that stipulate your spouse or partner as the decisionmaker if needed. It really matters.

    Meanwhile, we need marriage equality nationwide. Even then, though, pockets or resistance will remain throughout the land.

  111. lynchie says:

    Frankly John, he didn’t fix shit.These gentlemen were doing nothing but comforting each other. They
    weren’t a threat to anyone but a self righteous bastard in the hospital was having none of that—there are rules after all. The cruelty, greed and lack of respect is appalling
    We elect a Congress and the GOP simply says you can’t govern unless you do it our way, we don’t care if your side has a majority and the President and Dems can’t provide a reach
    around to the right fast enough. There are too many instances of states, cities, companies, hospitals deciding what the law is and how to apply it. Our freedoms are gone, speech, right to protest, etc. and there is not one thing we can do. When Obama instructs the DOJ to chase down medical marijuana, whistle blowers and prosecute to the fullest we know we are licked. This country can’t even see that control on the spread of firearms is a good thing. Can’t see that the wall street and the banks are out of control and own Congress and the Presidency are owned by them. Can’t see that the poor and elderly are being asked to sacrifice so the rich can continue to avoid taxes. Can’t see that the 99% has 0% chance of grabbing the golden apple but they keep telling us, you have to “want” it. Well we are well and truly fucked. I know I am always the glass half empty guy, though that is because I love my beer. The elderly and poor where I live have simply tuned out, they don’t think government does anything to help and that they are not represented and truly who do they represent, except themselves.

  112. Are there any actions we can take to support this couple?

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