Sunday, May 2, 2010

Support Greene vs. County of Sonoma

Find out how you can help! Buy ebooks to support the cause.

This might have been ten years ago, back when I still had HBO - I watched If These Walls Could Talk 2. This is a trilogy of stories, each set in a different era but in the same home, and the main characters involved are lesbian couples. The first vignette - easily the best one, in my opinion - was about two elderly partners, one played by Vanessa Redgrave, living in an unnamed town in the early 60s. One night, after coming home from a movie date, Redgrave's partner suffers a fall and consequential stroke, and because she not officially a relative or legal spouse she is not permitted to visit her love in the hospital. She can only sit in the waiting room while her life partner (whom, as we presume through later scenes, had been with her for decades) dies alone.

Of course, it doesn't get better. Redgrave is obliged to inform her partner's next of kin, and fix up the home they shared to erase any evidence that the two women were more than roommates. We learn that although both women paid the mortgage on the home, the title was in the deceased's name, therefore leaving Redgrave's character with no legal right to claim it...unless she agrees to buy or rent from her partner's nephew, who isn't about show any charity toward the "roommate" of an aunt he barely knew himself.

We are forced to watch as this poor woman's life is dismantled. She's allowed none of her love's possessions, as the niece-in-law is likely calculating a yard sale, and her meager pension isn't enough to start over. The ambiguous ending of this chapter leaves us to assume Redgrave must find a cheaper living situation or check herself into a retirement home. Either way, she's lost everything she holds dear - the woman she loves, the home they shared, and in a sense her own identity.

But, you say, it's just a movie, and it's set in the 60s. Surely we've evolved as a compassionate society since then, right? Heh.

By now, you've probably heard the sad and unfortunately true story of two Southern California men, a couple. Harold and Clay were together for twenty years, and Clay cared for his ailing partner. Long story short, their story pretty much played out like Walls 2, only instead of an oblivious nephew Clay had to deal with an uncaring county government. The men were removed from their home and placed in separate nursing room quarters, and Clay was refused Harold's last moments on Earth. Then he watched helplessly as the county sold off both men's possessions without bothering to check who owned what.

Read the official reporting. I'll wait here.

Mad yet? You should be. Now, if you're the type who doesn't support gay marriage and shared benefits for life partners, you're probably shrugging and thinking to yourself, "this doesn't affect me." I say, can you be certain of that? This government saw fit to barge in on two human beings and confiscate their property to auction it off without their permission. Yes, they were gay, but think about it: what's to stop a government from doing this to anybody else? What's to stop a government from deciding a heterosexual couple, together for decades, should be separated and sent to a rest home? If you're not a relative, you likely won't get visiting rights, either. The longer people remain silent, the greater the risk to simple human freedoms.

Nobody - gay, straight, bi - should have to be treated with such cold indifference in this country or anywhere else. Would you want somebody in a suit and clipboard telling you that you can't see your partner, your parent, your child as they are dying? What kind of people are we to allow this behavior?

Clay has a court date this summer, and I hope he wins. A victory for Clay is a victory for every person who has suffered this level of indignity. The group representing Clay is currently accepting donations (see above link), and in the meantime authors and publishers distributed through All Romance have pledged royalties to the cause. Click the button to find out who's signed up so far. I have volunteered nearly all of my GLBT toward the cause - for every copy sold through ARe, I'll give 25% of the earnings, plus add on extra to round up the total. If you're interested in buying some of my books, please consider buying the following through ARe:

Listed Leigh Ellwood Titles - 25% of author's proceeds
Jack of Diamonds
Jack of Hearts
Enter Sandman
The Healing
Why, Why, Zed?

Listed DLP Book Titles - 25% of publisher's proceeds
By the Chimney With Dare
Last Call
Long Awaited Friend
Share Some More
Where Angels Dare to Tread
A Shot of Jack 

My friend J.T. has generously offered his first title as well, and we're working to get more up from him to add to the total. If I can get Dare and Dare Alike finished this month, I'll add that, too. Don't forget the other authors who has offered their works.

No comments: