Tuesday, June 19, 2012

A Simple Matter of Fairness

I am grieving tonight.  

This evening, I attended the viewing of an acquaintance of mine.  This man was one half of a couple I have known for quite some time.  He was too young to die--well, he was 60 but that is too young.

He had lived for more than 30 years with a debilitating illness--multiple sclerosis.  But even so, his death was unexpected.   I didn't even know he was sick enough to be facing death.  But for my husband happening by chance to read the obituary in our local paper, I would have missed the news altogether.

But it is not his death that has me grieving.  I am privileged to consider this man's partner a dear friend of mine.  And that is why I am grieving--perhaps you guessed it.  This couple happen to be a gay couple.  The particular cause of my grieving is that when the man died, he was in the hospital.  And his partner of more than 30 years was not immediately allowed to see his "significant other" until after five hours had passed.

My friend told me in so many terms--"because I wasn't family, I was not allowed to see him immediately."  

A simple matter of fairness.  If you are reading this, and you are married, when you die or when your spouse dies, you will be allowed to see your departed loved one.  Why? Because you are married.

Why couldn't my friend see his partner?  Because he wasn't married.  Why wasn't he married?  Well, you know the answer.

What a cruel inequity our society imposes on people such as my friend.  And it grieves me.


Murr Brewster said...

I am sorry for your friends and you. I despair of many, maybe most, things changing for the better, but this nonsense will. Soon.

Peruby said...

How very sad and tragic. I hope your friend finds comfort, regardless of how unfair this society is.

NCmountainwoman said...

It grieves me as well. So sad and so unfair. Cruel inequity indeed.

Ginnie said...

Oh, I couldn't agree with you more. In 3 weeks I will be meeting my dear friend Ted who lives in Calif. but will be in Cape Cod. We have been friends since 1958, meeting in NY City. He and his partner have been together for over 30 years, unmarried of course and I can't imagine how devestated either of them would be if they were in that situation. Thank you for writing about it.

Anvilcloud said...

I wonder if this sort of thing makes the religious wrong happy?

Mauigirl said...

So sorry for the loss of your friend, and so angry that his partner was deprived of the right that any married person would have. So unfair. It has to change, and I hope it will in our lifetimes.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

This injustice is so wrong and yet yet simple to right. One does not even have to get into the debate of same sex relationships to do the right thing and let the significant other of a person full access to them before and after death.

As far as I know this no longer happens in Canada. It would be gainst our Charter of Rights and Freedoms which includes sexual orientation among the things that must be respected and defended against discrimination.

Mary Lee said...

How absolutely unfair! The partner had taken care of him in sickness and in health... and then had no more rights than the pizza delivery guy? Appalling!

I will never understand why letting gay couples wed is supposed to somehow be threatening to the institution of marriage. I'm for as many loving homes as possible!

My condolences to your friend and to you.

Kari Hultman said...

This is why I've told Nancy that if I'm ever in the hospital, "Tell them you're my sister." And I'll do the same.

The hospital's policy is nothing but cruel and inhumane.