By Sunnivie Brydum
Originally published on Advocate.com April 11 2013 12:23 PM ET
A gay man was arrested and issued a restraining order in Kansas City, Mo., after he refused to leave his partner's hospital bedside, according to The Raw Story.
Federal officials said Thursday afternoon they were seeking a "speedy" resolution to the allegations of discriminatory treatment, while the hospital in question issued a statement saying the man's ejection was related to his "beligerent" behavior, not his sexual orientation.
Roger Gorley told Kansas City's Fox 4 News that even though he and his partner, Allen Mansell, have been in a civil union for five years and have legal power of attorney agreements to make medical decisions for one another, when a member of Mansell's family asked Gorley to leave, staff at Research Medical Center refused to recognize the men's partnership, and when Gorley refused to leave, called police to remove Gorley from the hospital in handcuffs.
"I was not recognized as being the husband," Gorley told Fox 4 on April 11. "I wasn't recognized as being the partner."
Gorley contends that the nurse on duty did not look for documentation to confirm Gorley's assertions that he had a legal right to stay with his partner.
"She didn't even bother to look it up, to check into it," Gorley told Fox 4.
A police report following the incident confirms that Gorley was arrested after a brief physical altercation with security guards.
"After several verbal attempts to get [Gorley] to leave the room, he continually refused and began to cause a disturbance,” Fox 4 quoted from the police report. ["He] began to cause a disturbance by physically resisting security officers as they escorted him out of the patient’s room."
The hospital issued a statement on Thursday saying that Gorley was beligerent in his refusal to leave the hospital room, and caused a disturbance when he resisted removal.
"This was an issue of disruptive and belligerent behavior by the visitor that affected patient care," Denise Charpentier, Research Medical Center's vice president of marketing and relations told Fox 4 Thursday. "The hospital’s response followed the same policies that would apply to any individual engaged in this behavior in a patient care setting and was not in any way related to the patient’s or the visitor’s sexual orientation or marital status. This visitor created a barrier for us to care for the patient. Attempts were made to deescalate the situation. Unfortunately, we had no choice but to involve security and the Kansas City MO Police Department.”
Charpentier's statement also noted that Research Medical Center has offered employees domestic partnership benefits since 2005, and said, "We have had a policy specifically acknowledging domestic partners’ visitation rights in place for years."
In 2010, President Obama issued a memorandum ordering hospitals to recognize same-sex partners as family and guarantee them equal visitation rights as offered to opposite-sex spouses.
Zack Ford at ThinkProgress LGBT noted that Missouri's state laws regulating power of attorney might leave room for hospitals to deny visitation "based on religious beliefs or sincerely held moral convictions, unless the hospital…received a copy of the durable power of attorney."
Watch the report from Kansas City's Fox 4 News below.