CLAY GREENE: Once in a while a story comes along which truly horrifies

..and exposes true bullying, in the case of Phoebe Price, it is a case of Mean Girls, Mean Boys, and jealousy. In the case of Clay Greene, it is a case in which a whole SLEW of adults acted in such a horrifically insensitive manner as to make one think of that Phoebe Price case:



I am trying to find some sort of contact information to send support to Clay Green, either by way of money (we can all afford a dollar perhaps) or letters of love and support. As soon as I find anything, I will post it here.

Photo borrowed from this site, which includes the actual complaint filed on Clay Greene’s behalf.

Suit Charges Elderly Gay Partners Were Forced Apart


Clay M. Greene’s story, as recounted in his recent lawsuit against Sonoma County, is a tale of loss, doubled and redoubled. For gay men and lesbians, the series of events outlined in the complaint hits very close to home.Mr. Greene, a 78-year-old gay man from Sebastopol, has filed a lawsuit against Sonoma County after saying he sustained a spate of indignities at the hands of officials during a bizarre estate battle that took place when his partner, who was 88, fell and became hospitalized in 2008.News of Mr. Greene’s complaint came as President Obama was making headlines for his order extending hospital visitation rights and decision-making authority to same-sex partners.

The detailed complaint was filed on March 22, but news of it began ricocheting around the Internet, beginning on gay and lesbian sites Sunday and reaching venues like Daily Kos by Monday.Mr. Greene’s troubles began when Harold Scull, his partner for more than 20 years, fell down the steps of their home in April 2008. At the time, the complaint said, Mr. Scull was showing signs of mental impairment.County officials successfully petitioned the court to gain some powers of conservatorship. Then they “sold, kept, converted to their own use, and otherwise disposed of” almost $500,000 worth of belongings from the home shared by the two men — including furniture, art objects, memorabilia from the years Mr. Scull spent working in Hollywood, as well as a truck and two cats, the lawsuit alleges.

Mr. Greene said that he and Mr. Scull had previously specified each other as executors in case either became incapacitated, but the county ignored the legal documents and the history of their relationship, and at one point referred to Mr. Greene as Mr. Scull’s “roommate.”

Citing the state of Mr. Greene’s mental health, county officials then moved him against his will into a nursing home and sold the rest of his belongings, the suit charged. He was not allowed to visit Mr. Scull, who died several months later, in August 2008.

The nursing home, Agua Caliente Villa of Sonoma, is named as a defendant in the case. So is the auction company that sold the couple’s belongings.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights has joined the lawsuit, calling the situation an example of why “same-sex couples need full equality.”

Gay and lesbian elderly individuals, in particular, are vulnerable because “they are often estranged from their family and don’t have a legally recognized relative,” said Shannon P. Minter, the legal director for the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “Even here, where they had filled out legal documents, because their relationship is so thoroughly invisible and disrespected, it didn’t protect them.”

Mr. Minter said Mr. Greene’s situation was far less likely to happen to the surviving spouse of a heterosexual marriage.

Messages left at the office of Sonoma County’s legal counsel seeking comment were not returned. A message seeking comment left at the office of Anne Dennis, Mr. Greene’s lawyer, was not returned. Mr. Minter said Mr. Greene was unavailable for comment because he was in a “fragile” psychological state.

Embedded in the legalese of the complaint were stark anecdotal nuggets. At one point, as county officials moved through the couple’s home, the complaint alleged, they commented on the “quality” and “desirability” of the furnishings. They also mocked Mr. Greene, he said, calling him a “crazy old man,” said he had “dementia” and was a lost cause, laughed at him, and told him to “shut up and go to your room.”

On another instance, Mr. Greene claimed that employees acting as the county’s Deputy Public Guardians rolled their eyes and said in his presence, “you know how those gay boys are” and later expressed “displeasure at dealing with expressions of grief by a gay man who had lost his longtime partner.”

The case will go to trial on July 16, Mr. Minter said.

For more information about this case visit NCLR’s Elder Law Project.



6 Responses to “CLAY GREENE: Once in a while a story comes along which truly horrifies”

  1. Whoever does not, sometime or other, give [her] full consent, [her] full and joyous consent, to the dreadfulness of life, can never take possession of the unutterable abundance and power of our existence; can only walk on its edge, and one day, when the judgment is given, will have been neither alive nor dead. (Letters: Rainer Maria Rilke 1923.)

    Can you see how the above applies to you and what you have done? You’re a good person Mo. We’re all better by virtue of your being here.

  2. Dwight,

    You are so very very sweet. *I* am better by virtue of having you as my friend. :-)

    Thanks. people so rarely comment. It’s a very special thing to receive this comment, and to have it be these very words.

  3. From E. J. BarnesApril 20, 2010 at 11:03

    Re: Perhaps take a moment to read, if you have concern about Elder Abuse and Gay Rights

    This is a horror story for gay couples. But it is also a warning, not only to unmarried couples regardless of orientation, but to legally single persons who are unattached and want to name close friends as executor, power of attorney, or health care proxy: The state can treat you as a legal incompetent, and invalidate documents expressing your wishes, with a sweep of their hands.

    Marriage equality for gays will help married gays, but it won’t help the single. When an adult capable of signing binding contracts (including, potentially, a marriage license) can be treated as the property of his or her legal next of kin, or lacking such named a ward of the state, regardless of prior arrangement, nobody is free.

    I am reminded of the case of underground cartoonist Dori Seda, who willed her art (including rights thereto) to one of her friends. Seda’s mother disregarded the will and took possession of her effects, including Dori’s underground art, of which her mother strongly disapproved. It took several years for the courts to grant Dori’s stated heir rights to her work. Seda, incidentally, had been a resident of California.

  4. I signed this immediately upon receiving your Facebook post with link. The outrage over this story is rampant. Now if everyone who was in any way upset by all that this article implies has happened and i s possible to happen to others would only act and sign the petition, the goal would be reached immediately.

  5. Don Delillo Says:

    I too signed the petition as soon as i saw it. thanks for doing this. I hope to see a lot more familiar names on that list; at least as many as i saw posting about outrage on facebook today.

    best of luck with it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: