When Roger Gorley went to go visit his sick partner, Allen, at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Mo., Tuesday afternoon, a member of Allen’s family asked him to leave. Gorley refused and hospital security stepped in and forcibly removed him from the hospital in handcuffs. He now faces a restraining order from Research Medical that denies Gorley of having any visitation rights.
“I was not recognized as being the husband. I wasn’t recognized as being the partner,” Gorley explained to the local Fox station, WDAF, in Kansas City.
Despite being in a civil union with Allen for five years and having power of attorney to handle each other’s affairs -- including medical decisions – Gorley said the nurse who attended to Allen refused to acknowledge their shared Power of Attorney status, nor did she take the time to look it up, Gorley said.
In 2010, President Obama signed into law a memorandum that ordered all hospitals that receive Medicare or Medicaid funding to let gay and lesbian couples have the right to visit their partners and make medical decisions for them, saying it should “guarantee that all patients' advance directives, such as durable powers of attorney and health care proxies, are respected," and that designated persons should be able to "make informed decisions regarding patients' care."
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According to WDAF, the Missouri hospital said that it does not discriminate against patients on the basis of sexual orientation.
The hospital released the following statement:
“We believe involving the family is an important part of the patient care process. And, the patient`s needs are always our first priority. When anyone becomes disruptive to providing the necessary patient care, we involve our security team to help calm the situation and to protect our patients and staff. If the situation continues to escalate, we have no choice but to request police assistance.”
Since the news broke, a petition on change.org was started by advocacy group Gay Marriage USA. They are calling on the hospital to apologize to Gorley and his partner, drop the restraining order against Gorley, take action on homophobic staff members, ensure that this incident never happens again for other same-sex couples, and to issue a media statement apologizing for the entire event.
Watch the news clip below:
For news updates from JR Tungol, follow him on Twitter @jratungol.