Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Gay Man & Sick Partner's Family Highlights Lack Of Same-Sex Couple Rights.

Hospital visitation rights*, as well as the right to make decisions for your partner are only two of the many rights the Commonwealth of Kentucky denies same-sex couples (and in the case, the State of Indiana).

This case however is bringing national attention to one of the many problems faced by same-sex couples:

For a quarter century Patrick Atkins and Brett Conrad shared their lives including a home and bank accounts but when Atkins fell near fatally ill Conrad discovered he had no rights in determining the care or who would deliver it to his ailing partner.

In 2005 Atkins collapsed while on a business trip to Atlanta. He had a ruptured aneurysm and later suffered a stroke while hospitalized.

When Conrad arrived in Atlanta Atkins' family directed the hospital to refuse him access to the ailing 47-year old, the Indianapolis Star reports. He was allowed by sympathetic hospital staff to sneak in after hours and after Atkins parents had left.

When Atkins was moved to a nursing home Conrad again was forced to sneak in to see the man with whom he had spend more than half his life.

Later that year Conrad filed for guardianship of Atkins. But the now severely disabled man's parents quickly moved their son to their home and have refused to allow Conrad access to him. For the past two years Conrad has been battling the Atkins family in court.

Legal documents obtained by the Star show that Atkins' mother, Jeanne Atkins, believes homosexuality is a sin and refuses to acknowledge the men's relationship. In June the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that Conrad must have visitation rights.

"Brett and Patrick have spent 25 years together as life partners - longer than Patrick lived at home with his parents - and their future life together has been destroyed by Patrick's tragic medical condition and by the Atkinses' unwillingness to accept their son's lifestyle," the ruling said.

But the court left the care of Atkins up to his parents. The Atkins family has asked the Appeals Court to reconsider the visitation ruling. Eventually the case is expected to go to the Indiana Supreme Court.

Indiana (like Kentucky) has a so-called defense of marriage law barring same-sex couples from marrying and no legislation giving any rights to gay and lesbian couples.

* Kentucky Equality Federation and allied organizations tried unsuccessfully to get hospital visitation rights passed by the 2007 Kentucky General Assembly.


7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Kudos for posting a story like this.

melody said...

i wonder if we will ever find a time when we are not discriminated against?

Natalie said...

THE ATKIN'S FAMILY AS WELL AS THE STATES OF INDIANA AND KENTUCKY SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES!!! I LIVED IN EVANSVILLE, INDIANA ONCE UPON A TIME AND LOST MY JOB WITH THE SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT FOR BEING GAY AND FOR BEING A FEMALE IMPERSONATOR. NO BIG LOSS THOUGH!!! I WAS GLAD TO BE OUT OF THAT ATMOSPHERE!!!!

Anonymous said...

My parents live in Kentucky and they can't see why I wouldn't move there to live with them. Thank you for posting a story like this. Now I know what to tell them when the ask why.

Anonymous said...

faggots will never win cause all you want is to get it in the ass and stay in bars all night

wayne said...

OMG WTF is up with comment # 5? Hey buddy I am glad I don't know who you are or I would hold your ass down and show you just how gay I am.

john said...

Keep in mind when voting that Hillary is not for gay rights. Let's not forget what Bill did.

But yesterday, she stood by clapping and giddy when this went down. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2008/04/north-carolina.html
She could have addressed that in some fashion even if she jokingly said something.

I don't know how many of you know that its been Obama that has been speaking out on behalf of gays and lesbians. He isn't doing it in front of gays, but rather talking to crowds that may not appreciate his talk; crowds of blacks for example. This is much harder and risker for him than Hillary giving us an interview. People wake up! Voting for her is wasting a vote. She isn't going to do anything of substance.

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