Greene v. County of Sonoma et al.

Copy and paste articles aren't my thing. Typically, I interpret the news in such a way as to break it down and comment on it.

But, when I heard about this news story, I was stunned. I didn't know what to say. I just sat and cried. I cried, because this is the country I live in. This is the future we are creating. We are actively making this our history, and who the hell cares enough to do anything about it? And, yes, this is happening in California. The Land of the Gays.

The problem with people assuming that places like California, Vermont, Massachusetts, etc. are safe from this type of persecution is that nobody continues to do the work towards equality. If nobody votes for the amazing singer on American Idol, they get voted off despite how amazing of a singer they really are. Prop 8 happened in California. Greene v. County of Sonoma is happening right now in California.

Again, I'm not one to copy and paste other people's articles, but nothing I could say could add to the story below. This story comes from NCLR (Nation Center for Lesbian Rights), but has been reported by many agencies. I hope and pray that the media attention given to this heinous act creates change.

Love and Lyte,

Fire Lyte

Greene v. County of Sonoma et al.

Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place—wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold’s care from the first moment. Tragically, county and health care workers instead refused to allow Clay to see Harold in the hospital. The county then ultimately went one step further by isolating the couple from each other, placing the men in separate nursing homes.

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. Outrageously, the county represented to the judge that Clay was merely Harold’s “roommate.” The court denied their efforts, but did grant the county limited access to one of Harold’s bank accounts to pay for his care.

What happened next is even more chilling: without authority, without determining the value of Clay and Harold’s possessions accumulated over the course of their 20 years together or making any effort to determine which items belonged to whom, the county took everything Harold and Clay owned and auctioned off all of their belongings. Adding further insult to grave injury, the county removed Clay from his home and confined him to a nursing home against his will. The county workers then terminated Clay and Harold's lease and surrendered the home they had shared for many years to the landlord.

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. Compounding this tragedy, Clay has literally nothing left of the home he had shared with Harold or the life he was living up until the day that Harold fell, because he has been unable to recover any of his property. The only memento Clay has is a photo album that Harold painstakingly put together for Clay during the last three months of his life.

With the help of a dedicated and persistent court-appointed attorney, Anne Dennis of Santa Rosa, Clay was finally released from the nursing home. Ms. Dennis, along with Stephen O'Neill and Margaret Flynn of Tarkington, O'Neill, Barrack & Chong, now represent Clay in a lawsuit against the county, the auction company, and the nursing home, with technical assistance from NCLR. A trial date has been set for July 16, 2010 in the Superior Court for the County of Sonoma.


  1. As sad and disgusting as what happened is a clear silver lining shone through when I read this.
    So many people seemed to have reached out to help Clay, to return to him his possessions and dignity. Too much has been taken from this man and it sickens me that anyone in the world can justify such actions against another human being.
    But to hear of people going out of their way to highlight the injustice and to help this man cope in his "golden" years warms my heart.

  2. This is extremely disgusting. This is America for heaven's sake adn I thought we had freedoms!!! Clay should have had every right to his possesions and who goes to who. Let's seriously fight for people now. I mean hello we know better in this country or so I thought. I am definitally going to fight for the rights of others.

  3. It is a good thing that there are those who have reached out to Clay and rightfully so. Yet thre is still the issue that such an injustice should never have occurred in the first place. I have to agree and say that it is acts such as this that make me ashamed of my country for allowing such things to occur. We like to think we are the high and mighty... the Big Dog... yet at times such as this we are only showing how ignorant and blind we can be.

  4. I just read about this late last night and was going to send a link to you today. But I see you've already heard about it. I find it sad and disgusting that their rights were totally ignored even with them taking the proper steps to ensure their rights if something happened. I can't believe that no one in this entire ordeal saw that something was wrong. And to subject them both to a nursing home especially against his will is just appauling. I'm glad that people have come forward to help Clay, and I hope he wins his case against all who wronged him.

  5. I'm shocked and outraged! I am a heterosexual, caucasion woman and as a member of the "majority", I know that my voice is often louder in the ears of assholes in power when I speak up for "minority" rights! Someday I hope that we will only be PEOPLE, not classified as majority/minority/gay/straight/bi/this religion or that in consideration by politicians, but for now, the fact is they listen more to straight whites than to anyone else. What can I do to help change things?


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