New information from an account of Gorley’s arrest published online and from an interview that Gorley’s daughter Amanda did with John Aravosis from Americablog paint an upsetting and disturbing picture of the ordeal that Gorley faced trying to assert his legal rights of power of attorney at his husband’s bedside.
Mansell and Gorley have been bound by a civil union for five years, granting them each power of attorney over each other’s health decisions, the kind of arrangement that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg called a “skim milk marriage” in oral arguments regarding same sex marriage before the Supreme Court earlier this month.
Mansell suffers from severe depression, which is being treated with Electroshock Therapy (ECT) at Research Medical Center in Kansas City twice per month. Research Medical is not Mansell’s primary hospital, but rather where he goes specifically for ECT sessions. Normally, the two men use St. Luke’s Medical Center in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, where their legal arrangement is respected by hospital staff.
Paramedics took Mansell to Research Medical on Tuesday, April 9 when he became sluggish and intermittently responsive at home. When Gorley arrived at the hospital, he was met by his partner’s brother Lee Mansell and sister Pat, who disapprove of the two men’s relationship. Lee Mansell asserted that he was next of kin and would be making all of his brother’s health decisions.
Gorley reportedly said, “This is my husband. I know what he wants and needs. You are never around. You need to leave.”
A nurse informed Gorley that he would have to leave because of his agitated state. When Gorley replied that he was Mansell’s husband and next of kin, she replied, “I know who you two are. You need to leave.”
Protesting that his legal status entitles him to be in the room with his husband, Gorley took hold of the railing of Mansell’s bed and refused to let go. The nurse then called police.
When officers arrived, they pounded on Gorley’s arm until he lost his grip, then threw him to the floor, sending his glasses and hearing aids flying and leaving him bloody and battered and nursing a swollen and badly bruised wrist. He was placed in handcuffs and taken to jail.
Mansell was in and out of consciousness during the confrontation, during which he repeatedly insisted, “I want him here,” but to no avail.
The hospital issued a restraining order against Gorley, but finally relented and allowed him to see Mansell on Thursday night after Gorley “showed up and threw a fit,” according to his daughter’s testimony. She told Americablog that her family is in contact with the ACLU and federal officials have promised to investigate the situation “in a speedy manner.”
President Barack Obama issued a memo in April of 2010 ordering all hospitals that receive federal funding to grant full visitation rights to same sex partners. The order also required hospitals to respect existing power of attorney arrangements of all patients, regardless of sexual orientation or marital status.
Watch April 11 video from WDAF about Gorley’s arrest, embedded below:
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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