Sonoma County Responds to Story About Forced Separation of Elderly Gay Couple

Thursday, April 22nd, 2010

Earlier this week, I posted a link to a gay rights advocacy group’s account of a lawsuit filed by 78-year-old Clay Greene. According to Greene, when his 20-year partner Harold Scull fell ill,Sonoma County, California refused to allow Greene to visit him. Greene claims the county then forcibly entered Greene into a nursing home, terminated the couple’s apartment lease, then auctioned off all of their assets.

I noted in the post that the story was only one half of a lawsuit, and now, in response to numerous complaints as the story spread across the Internet over the weekend,Sonoma County has issued a response, which you can read here. The county says Scull’s initial hospitalization, described in the lawsuit as the result of a fall, was actually due to domestic abuse on the part of Greene. The county says Scull filed a report to that effect, and that the abuse was documented by hospital workers. But the letter adds that no criminal charges were filed against Greene.

I’m not sure what to make of that. I’m not familiar with California law on the matter, but while a report of domestic abuse may be enough to keep Greene from visiting Scull in the hospital (and for that to be a sensible decision), without criminal charges, I don’t know how it allows the county to forcibly intern Greene in a nursing home and auction off all of his belongings. Then again, if the initial lawsuit neglected to mention the domestic abuse report, it’s possible that it also overstated or miststated the county’s actions with respect to Greene’s property and nursing home stay.

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6 Responses to “Sonoma County Responds to Story About Forced Separation of Elderly Gay Couple”

  1. #1 |  SJE | 

    I doubt this would happen if they were a heterosexual couple.
    The “domestic violence” may be a symptom of dementia, which is not surprising in a 78 year old. Of course, if Grandpa was in early stages of Alzheimers disease, and Grandma went to the hospital, should the state have the right to forcibly put Grandpa in a nursing home and auction of the couples’ things: I think not.

  2. #2 |  Fred Mangels | 

    The Santa Rosa Press- Democrat covered the story in today’s paper:
    http://www.watchsonomacounty.com/2010/04/featured-articles/gay-rights-advocates-bombard-county-with-questions/

  3. #3 |  Cappy | 

    Anyone else find it interesting that the county claims “domestic abuse” (essence: two people in familial relationship), then turns around and denies the rights of the aforementioned domestics.

  4. #4 |  Steve Verdon | 

    Anyone else find it interesting that the county claims “domestic abuse” (essence: two people in familial relationship), then turns around and denies the rights of the aforementioned domestics.

    Well, I for one wouldn’t put it past the county to make up all this nonsense after the fact. We all know they cover their asses everytime the raid the wrong home, shoot the wrong guy, etc. Why should this time be any different.

  5. #5 |  Mike | 

    I think the larger issue remains. We have an aging population, governments greedy for money, a growing senior care industry and lots of grasping probate lawyers. We are going to see more and more cases — for gays, straights or whatever — where the states declares them incompetent and turns over their worldly possessions to monied interests.

  6. #6 |  SJE | 

    Mike: I don’t think that the larger issue is an aging population. The larger issue is an unaccountable, greedy, tyranny under color of law. An aging population is just one excuse. If it wasn’t there, they would use another (see: drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, pornography, hip hop, rock and roll, jazz, 911, communism, militia, etc.)

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