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County: Gay Elders Separated Over Domestic Violence

County: Gay Elders Separated Over Domestic Violence

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The lawyer representing Sonoma County, Calif. and its employees in a civil lawsuit filed by Clay M. Greene, who suffered unimaginable indignities after being forcibly separated from his partner of 20 years, says the county took action because it believed that Greene was abusing Harold Scull.

Sonoma County lawyer Gregory G. Spaulding made the domestic violence claim in an interview Tuesday, according to The New York Times.

"That, Mr. Spaulding said, was the motivation behind the decision to separate the two elderly men, who were placed in separate nursing care facilities. The separation and subsequent auction of the partners' possessions, as described in the lawsuit Mr. Greene's filed in March, has drawn strong condemnation on Web sites reporting the allegations," reports the Times.

Spaulding has referred to records from April 2008 that show Scull was admitted to a Santa Rosa hospital as a result of injuries Scull said were inflicted by Greene.

Greene, 78, filed a lawsuit alleging that he and Scull were each other's legal executors, but that the county disregarded the documents. More than $500,000 of their belongings were disposed of by the state, and Greene, moved involuntarily to a nursing home, was not allowed to see Scull, who died in August 2008 at age 88.

Shannon Minter, a lawyer for the National Center for Lesbian Rights, which is representing Greene, told the Times that no evidence of abuse existed.

"The county was certainly right to take initial measures to investigate and determine whether there was abuse, which is a serious issue for many elders," said Minter. "But they did not treat this case as they would have for a heterosexual couple."

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