I have spent every day of my life since I was 15 years old fighting for equal rights amongst ALL people let alone those who are attracted to the same sex. My father, Roger Gorley, and his husband, Allen Mansell have been married for nearly 5 years. They have shared a home together, purchased cars together, have all of their investments, and any other paperwork taken care of to be considered a real marriage under the law. In the state of Missouri civil unions are not recognized but many same-sex couples go ahead and follow through with the paperwork and register it with the state so they can be recognized as a significant life partner to the other person in moments such as these and especially after the death of their loved one. My fathers did this. They did all of the paperwork so something like what I’m about to tell you happened would never happen to them.
Allen has suffered from a variety of illnesses over his life but one in particular is severe depression. He has been dealing with this for over 20 years and has done an amazing job at it. He has seen a psychiatrist regularly, maintained a well-paying job with the government, taken care of not only himself but his family members, and after making a big move from San Francisco back home to Lee’s Summit, MO he found the love of his life, Roger Gorley.
I remember when they met. It was like an instant love connection and I was so happy for my dad. They had their ups and downs as any couple would but nothing outrageous. About 6 months ago Allen’s depression reached an all time low. We didn’t know what to do. The medications were no longer working and he wasn’t able to continue his job with the GSA. So he retired to focus on his health. His psychiatrist thought that ECT would be the best solution for him since all other treatments had been exhausted and this has been found to be very effective among people with severe depression. They agreed to try the treatments and Roger took off of work every other Wednesday to be with his partner while he went through this scary procedure twice a month.
Allen’s family has never understood his condition, his medical treatments, and why it takes the amount of medication it does in order for him to maintain his ability to live from day to day. So last week when his brother Joe, with his wife and kids, came down from Virginia to see him this is when the family noticed for the first time how bad his depression can be. Joe already understood this and let Allen deal with it in his own way. He understood that his ECT, medications, and therapy sessions were out of whack due to the snow storm from way on back. (For those who do not understand ECT and how it works: Basically, you establish a schedule and if you deviate from that schedule in any way it can have catastrophic effects on the patient. Electro-shock therapy is a delicate therapy and is still controversial amongst people in the psychiatric community). Allen was not acting out of sorts for Allen. He was isolating, not wanting to be around people, and sleeping 10-14 hours a day. Which is not uncommon for people suffering from severe depression.
Allen made sure over the past 20 years to NOT involve his family in his medical care. NONE of them are on his HIPAA nor are any of them supposed to have any say over what happens to him medically. They have each been granted power of attorney over each other for medical decisions. This information is not only ON FILE with Research Medical Center, they are well known at the hospital and throughout the city as a proud gay couple. No one has ever had a problem until Tuesday 4/9/2012.
Allen wasn’t doing very well. He was sluggish, slurring his speech, and unable to remember what he was doing. He suffers from extreme night sweats and diabetes. So when he sweats out majority of the water that’s in his body he will be dehydrated. So we force him to drink water, gatorade, etc. throughout the day in order to ensure he can function. Being diabetic doesn’t help. It causes his sluggish-ness and makes him extremely tired.
Adam and I came over to the house to fix dinner, help my dad take care of Allen (by doing laundry, cleaning etc). He wasn’t doing well for a normal person but he was doing alright for Allen. They had planned a trip to go to Amsterdam leaving at 3pm on 4/10 and coming back on 4/18. They had hidden this information from Allen’s family until about a week ago. The family has not been supportive of their relationship and they have hidden their vacations before from the family because they always try to get in the middle and mess everything up. They had been planning this trip for months and were looking forward to being in a city that was 100% accepting of gay couples. Where they could hold hands without getting strange looks, kiss each other in public, etc. At 9pm we left and they both were in bed asleep.
Allen and I spend the day together with my daughter at his house. He was still sluggish and slurring his words but doing better than he was the day before. I gave him the necessary medicine he needed at the appropriate times and we set off to go to get his hair cut and grab some cat food. He wanted to go and I didn’t see any reason not to. He’s an adult and knows how hard to push himself.
So we went to his hair stylist and visited with them for about an hour and then spent about 30 min at the local Hy-Vee getting cat food. His stylist noticed that he was observably slower and tired but after he explained what was going on they didn’t seem to concerned.
When we arrived at Allen and Roger’s home Lee, Allen’s brother who lives in town, was waiting at the front door. The Lee’s Summit Police followed right behind us. They were waiting for us to come home. Bombarded by 5 policemen Allen didn’t know what to do. He was exhausted from our outing and we were planning on him taking a nap as soon as we got home. So he allowed the police, his brother Lee, sister Pat, and 4 Paramedics into the house. It was utter chaos from the moment we opened our car doors.
Due to Allen’s state at that precise moment the police decided to take him to the hospital against his will stating he was a “danger to himself”. I immediately called my father and told him to leave work and get to the hospital. The paramedics and police were not listening to me they were listening to the brother and the sister.
The reason that listening to them was a big problem is because they have no idea what Allen’s medical conditions are, who his doctors are, and what hospital he is normally treated at. Allen and all of his doctors are located at St. Luke’s in Lee’s Summit MO. The ONLY reason he goes to Research Medical Center is for his ECT. I told the police and paramedics this 3 times! Not only that I know his medical conditions and what he needs NOT his siblings. My father and his husband trust me with this information because they know I will fight for their rights to each other. That I will never allow something like this to happen if I can help it. But when no one is listening no matter how hard you scream it will fall onto deaf ears.
After I pack up the house, my daughter, and arrange plans for someone to come and get her at the hospital because I have no idea how long I will need to be there we arrive all at the same time to see Allen received by the nursing staff and my Dad, Roger Gorley, follows him in along with Lee, Allen’s brother. This is when things started to get ugly.
Roger immediately rushed to Allen’s side, grabbed his hand, and reassured him everything will be ok. He will handle everything. He is in good hands and they will be going home as soon as possible. His brother Lee decided to say similar things but to also add in that he will not allow Roger to make these decisions and he will make sure everything is ok. Well that ignited the fire in my father that had been swelling up inside of him. He said, “No you won’t! This is my husband. I know what he wants and needs. You are never around. You need to leave.”
The nurse had had enough at this point and asked my father to leave. He gave her a surprised look back and said “No I’m staying with my husband.” She responded with “I know who you two are. You need to leave.” My father took this as she had treated Allen before, knew who my father was to him, and was making the decision that they didn’t have the right to one another as husband and husband. So instead of checking the file to see his power of attorney in his medical chart (they each have one for each other) she immediately called the police and had my father forcibly removed.
When the Kansas City Missouri Police Department arrived they asked my father to leave the room. He said to them, “No. This is my husband and I am going to stay with him.” The police considered that a violation of a direct order so they began to forcibly remove him from the room. My father held onto the rail of the gurney as well as his husbands hand with everything he had. The police responded with brut and excessive force. The office began karate chopping his wrist to get him to release the gurney. Then they wrestled him to the ground forcefully enough to knock his glasses off of his face, his hearing aids out of his ears, and nearly break his wrist while they took him down. To handcuff him they pushed a knee into his back and wrenched his wrists around.
It didn’t end there. The police changed his handcuffs 4 times! They assumed because he was a gay man that he was HIV+. When they drew blood from accosting him in such a brutal manner they freaked out. One of the arresting officers was so offended by my father’s presence that he would not touch him with his bare hands. He wore gloves the entire time and to make matters even more humiliating he didn’t want his handcuffs back. He grabbed them with gloves on, then another layer of gloves pinched between his index finger and thumb as he handed them off to another officer. The officer taking the handcuffs looked at him like he was crazy and just grabbed the handcuffs with no issue.
My father, Roger Gorley, is a kind compassionate man. He doesn’t loose his temper, has never expressed violence in anger, and is so sweet he can’t even make threats to people properly.
It took 3 hours to process him through the system and get him bailed out of jail. A $600 fine for disorderly conduct and trespassing and has a restraining order against him from the hospital saying he is not allowed to step foot back on the hospital grounds even to see his husband.
If anyone remembers back in 2010 when Obama made the new law across the board that same sex couples will be given the same rights as heterosexual ones when it came to visitation rights in the hospital you will know that this restraining order has no grounds and is completely illegal for the hospital to do. But as of right now my father is not allowed to see his partner in the hospital who wants nothing more than to hold his partners hand and tell him everything will be ok.
Fox 4 news came over to interview my dad. He was exhausted. He had to cancel their trip to Amsterdam and lost nearly $3,000 because the Hotel would not refund their money even though they just wanted to reschedule for a later date. Travelocity customer service did the best job they could to get him all of the money back and although the representatives that helped us do not speak for the company they wanted to make sure we understood they did not approve of what had happened and hoped this matter would get resolved quickly so they could go on their first trip overseas together.
My father was incredibly exhausted so other than contacting lawyers and doing this interview not much had changed.
The story has gone viral. Huffington Post, ABC News, CNN, and so many more have picked up the story. The ACLU is working with my father on a plan of action to see what we can do so they can be together again until Allen is let out of the hospital. He was offically admitted on Wednesday morning and is hopeful to getting out sometime Thursday, 4/11 or Friday, 4/12
Please contact Amanda Brown at 913-710-5665 for more information on the story as it develops. Roger Gorley and Allen Mansell request that you respect their need for privacy and understand that in the end the only thing they want is equal rights under the law. The same protections and allowances that heterosexual couples receive. We both know that if this had been a man and his wife this would not have happened the way it did.
I want to make sure the entire public knows that what I have said is 100% the truth. The hospital did not follow the steps they were supposed to in order to resolve this matter appropriately. The disregarded the patients HIPAA information as well as the power of attorney letter they have on file. Roger Gorley had signed off for many procedures at this hospital before this incident. There was no reason it needed to escalate to this point where Roger was arrested. He has no criminal history of any kind and has never disregarded a direct order from a police officer until that day. My father is an amazing man who has overcome many obstacles in his life and has finally found the man he wants to spend the rest of his life with.
We are all human beings. We are all born the same way. We should all have the same equal protections under the law regardless of sexual orientation. It is time America, to end this discrimination. It is time for every person to pursue happiness in whatever manner that person sees fit, as long as its safe, sane, and consensual there should be no problem. We are all capable of love. We are all in the pursuit of this at one point or another in our lives. If this was your partner would you have let go of their hand?
Update: 4/11/2013 4:20pm
According to Fox 4 News this is what Research Medical Center has released as a statement:
Research Medical Center says it can’t talk specifically about this case, but in a statement said:
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.
On Thursday, after the story received national attention, Research Medical Center reiterated that their priority is patient care. The following is a statement from Research Medical Center’s Denise Charpentier, VP of Marketing and Public Relations which said in part:
“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.”
This is absolute and utter bullshit. They did NOT treat them as equals under the law. My father was NOT the one being disruptive nor should have been the one arrested it was LEE, the brother. He is NOT on the HIPAA not does he have power of attorney. That is my FATHER, Roger Gorley, and him alone.
With this recent information Roger is going to try to see his partner tonight. We will update you with more information as we receive it.
Update: 4/14/2013 1:00pm
We visited with Allen yesterday (my father is at the hospital right now) and he’s doing much better. The staff is treating him well and has given us visiting hours outside of the normal times, to keep things more private, although they still have to supervise visitation. Allen is quite upset that his brother acted the way he did and does NOT want his family to make legal decisions for him. He made it very clear to us and the State Health Department that he told the nurse that first night in the ER that Roger is his husband, has legal power of attorney, and didn’t want him to leave the room.
We have reason to believe his brother and sister have spoken to Social Services and are going to try and use “senior abuse” laws (even though Allen is only 46) to try and have him declared incompetent and seize my father’s right to make decisions with/for him. We will fight this… they will lose.
He’s doing well and is ready to come home. He wants to release his own statement, and will probably do a few interviews, when he gets home and is rested. He will clear up some things for everyone and is happy that this situation, however difficult, has allowed people to have an important conversation about gay rights in this country. We appreciate everyone’s kind words and support. They have already racked up a few thousand dollars in medical bills from this (on top of having to cancel their trip to Amsterdam this week… non-refundable reservations). You can follow the link below or at the top of this blog if you feel moved to help (or just share it with your friends that can).
I got to see my father and Allen hug, kiss, and hold each other for several minutes at the hospital. I cried a little… they didn’t want to let each other go. They live a quiet life together and aren’t used to this much “noise” around them. They are ready to get back to their lives together with the family members that do love them. If you have questions that you’d like Roger or Allen to answer in a future press release, please email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will do our best to get you responses.
To those that have empathized, thank you. To those that can’t seem to understand, I hope you find love someday like they have… maybe then you’ll understand people not recognizing your love and commitment and then you’ll finally get why my father refused to leave. The law is on his side. We are on his side. Justice will prevail.Help with medical and legal bills