Roger Gorley just wanted to visit his partner Allen at a Missouri hospital, but, after Allen’s family took out restraining order keeping him away, the gay man ended up being arrested.
Gorley went to visit his partner at Research Medical Center in Kansas City on Tuesday. When he got there, a member of Allen’s family asked him to leave. Gorley refused, and hospital security ended up putting him in handcuffs and forcing him off the property.
Roger Gorley said he was arrested because he was gay. Missouri does not legally recognize him and Allen as a married couple despite the fact they have been in a civil union for five years and make medical decisions for each other.
“I was not recognized as being the husband, I wasn’t recognized as being the partner,” Gorley said.
To make the situation even worse, a nurse refused to verify that Roger Gorley shares a joint Power of Attorney with his partner.
“She didn’t even bother to go look it up to check into it,” Gorley said. “He’s been at the psychiatric unit part several times.”
Allen’s family filed a restraining order filed against Roger Gorley, leaving him unable to visit his partner.
This week Research Medical Center responded to the flap, saying that it does not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. The hospital noted:
“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.”
The story has since gone viral, drawing national attention and stories on sites like The Huffington Post. It has also sparked a debate over the rights of gay couples.
In 2010, President Obama ordered hospitals receiving Medicare and Medicaid to allow visitation rights to gay couples. There is no word if Roger Gorley has been allowed back to visit Allen yet.