Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Land of the Free

It's hard for me to imagine how any of the actual human beings in this circumstance went about making their decisions.  I read this and initially shook my head in sadness.  But then as I considered it, it became more and more deeply disturbing to me.  I tend to think that "The State of California" did this monstrous thing.  But it didn't.  A series of human beings made and kept making one monstrous decision after another.

Consider this:

Ignoring Clay’s significant role in Harold’s life, the county continued to treat Harold like he had no family and went to court seeking the power to make financial decisions on his behalf.

This is a habit of journalism.  No county made this decision, people did.  They were guided by their laws and culture, but a human being looked Clay in the face and made the decision that because he and his partner were both males, that their previous, clear and written commitment to work for each other's well-being was invalid.  Who on Earth did that person think they were?  What drove them to that moment of evil?  Even if he or she thinks that homosexuality is wrong or unnatural or something else, what, at that moment, made them choose what they thought was right over the suffering of these two people?

Three months after he was hospitalized, Harold died in the nursing home. Because of the county’s actions, Clay missed the final months he should have had with his partner of 20 years.
Imagine yourself in a position of authority here... the hospital administrator, the judge, some police officer... you.  You deciding that Clay and Harold were so wrong that mediating their suffering for those three months was not as important as following the rules about visiting family members at the hospital.  You say, "I know you and he spent 20 years together, but since you are gay, your suffering is..."  What?  Now finish that.  There are only two options from what I can see.  If you conclude that statement to your satisfaction then it is inescapable that you think Clay and Harold do not suffer as much as straight people do, or you think that it doesn't matter that they suffer as much as straight people do.


Sarah G said...

Or, perhaps, you think they should be separated "for their own good".

Matt Dick said...


True enough. I missed the possibility that is perhaps the most likely or most common position for someone to take, should they support the position of separating gay partners.

I think this is perhaps just as heinous, as it places the person in the position of deciding what is most good for someone else--the ultimate judge, or the ultimate interpreter of the supreme moral arbiter. Either way, one is on shaky ground.

Thanks for the input.