Hate Kills: The Tragic Tale of Clay & Harold

What a country. Yes, the good old Yew-nited States is the land of the free, the home of the brave, the bastion of equality under law for all. Unless you’re gay, that is.

The story that follows is so outrageous and features such cruelty and evil that it literally made me retch.  Even while writing this, tears are streaming down my cheeks. But write I must: The level of man’s inhumanity to man and the assault on basic decency portrayed in this real-life nightmare is so overwhelmingly offensive that however disgusting it is, it must be told. People need to know the reality of 21st century life for LGBT people in the US — and folks, it isn’t pretty.

In case you didn’t watch the video, here’s the gist:

Clay, 77, and Harold, 88, were a devoted pair for more than 20 years. As we queers were warned to do in the 1990s, the couple attempted to protect their relationship and family from hateful hets. They spent thousands and thousands of dollars in government and legal fees to draft wills, powers of attorney, medical directives, etc., to ensure that no one could violate their union or dispute their family status. As time passed, the men aged, and Harold’s health began to deteriorate. And when Harold fell ill, those legal protections turned out to be nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Despite the couple’s carefully prepared documentation, California’s Sonoma County methodically put Harold into a nursing home and forced Clay — who was healthy — into a different facility. Their rented home was seized, all their worldly possessions sold behind their backs. Clay was forbidden to see his longtime love (after all, according to the law, these men were strangers, and certainly not family). Harold ended up dying alone shortly thereafter.

Now, Clay is mourning by fighting: He is suing Sonoma County and other entities involved in taking away his home and goods and in keeping him away from his lifemate, his partner, his love — the person who would have been his husband, save for hate-filled, fearful, and  ignorant Californians.

My assignment to you: Tell everyone you know. Attention must be paid to the story of Clay and Harold. This sick, twisted tale illustrates quite clearly that marriage equality is a necessity, not tomorrow or next week or next year, but yesterday. It demonstrates exactly why “the people” cannot be trusted to make decisions about what rights other citizens are allowed to have. That we are still unequal under law in 2010 is unacceptable to any decent human.

Yes, I am saying flat out — if you don’t support equality under law, you are not a decent human being.

Don’t give me the religion crap: Being religious doesn’t mean one must agree to uphold or demand inequality in law. If your deity has a problem with queers, he, she, or it does not need your help or your government’s help to punish us. We are talking about civil law; your god has no power here.  At least, he or she or it should not. Don’t the religionists get juicy tax exemptions and a whole passel of governmental kissing-up: the pledge, the prayer breakfasts and invocations that communicate that good Americans are godly Americans, the money, etc.?  That isn’t enough? Apparently not, which means that these ignorant bigots have yet another sin for which to atone:  greed.

It’s time for all good people to come together in honor of Clay and Harold and all the people treated in such horrific fashion. How? By saying goodbye to complacency and apathy. By putting a stop to this injustice. By taking action.  How can you not? People are dying because of this hate!

Please, share the story of Clay and Harold with everyone you know, particularly lawmakers and the right-wing, antigay folks with whom you must deal. Our bigoted brethren must know the results of their hateful actions, philosophies and doctrines. They must be told:  Harold and Clay loved each other for more than 20 years. Now, Harold is dead and Clay is alone, all because they dared to love each other and the state of California just could not stand it.

Enough with the bigotry already: You’re making the American people look like hateful killers. Natalie Maines rightly was ashamed of being from the same state as the bigot and war criminal George Dubya Bush. I am ashamed to have been born on the same continent as those who had a hand in destroying Clay and Harold’s home, their family, and their lives. Contradicting David Bowie, this is America — a land of hate, a land that would rather gays be dead and alone than equal.

I’ll repeat that, because people need finally to get what I’ve been bitching about my entire adult life: The US is and chooses to be a land of hate, a land that would rather LGBT people be dead and alone than equal.

How sick is that?

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