Friday, May 07, 2010

An Unlikely Plaintiff. At Issue? He Dares Not Speak Its Name!

In April 2008, Clay M Greene’s partner of 25 years, Harold Scull, then 88, fell and was hospitalized. Sonoma County became involved, and the two men were separated into different nursing homes and prevented from seeing each other. Their belongings were sold at auction, and their cats were taken away. Mr. Scull died a few months later. A lawsuit Mr. Greene filed asserts that the men’s wills and wishes were not honored and that their relationship was not treated equitably because they were a same-sex couple. The county has said there was a concern about domestic violence, although no criminal charges were pursued. A civil trial over the county’s actions is scheduled to begin July 16, 2010.

The New York Times/ Scott James reports:
When news of the lawsuit emerged last month, it grabbed headlines, and gay rights advocates — including the National Center of Lesbian Rights, which has added its legal resources to the case — said it was a textbook example of discrimination against same-sex couples.

Anne N. Dennis, Mr. Greene’s lawyer said, “Because they were gay, the county was able to do things they would not be able to do to a married couple.”

After all, how often are married heterosexual couples separated against their will?

But if Mr. Greene is to become a poster boy for legalizing same-sex marriage, he is an unwitting one.

In one of his rare interviews, he did not refer to himself as gay.

Having come from a generation when one’s homosexuality was hidden for fear of arrest or rebuke, he speaks in euphemisms.

“Just because my friend was 10 years older than me and fell down in the driveway,” Mr. Greene said. “They have to make a big deal out of it.”

Friend. Not lover. Not partner.

He beamed as he flipped through an album of old photographs, black and whites of handsome athletic men in taut bathing suits on the beach.

Yes, they were more than just friends, the pictures said.

“We weren’t a married couple,” Mr. Greene corrected.

“Why are you making a big deal out of this? We were just roommates.” READ MORE