The Gay Man Arrested for Refusing to Leave Sick Partner in Hospital is Father of Founder

This story has been all over the Internet today: A gay man was arrested at a hospital for refusing to leave his sick partner because he wasn’t recognized as a “family member.”

What you may not know is that Roger Gorley, the man arrested, is the father of Amanda Brown, one of the founders of and coordinator of the Reasonfest conference:

Amanda wrote a much more detailed and personal version of the story on her website and it’s the version you’ll want to start passing around to people in your social circles:

My father, Roger Gorley, and his husband, Allen Mansell have been married for nearly 5 years. They have shared a home together, purchased cars together, have all of their investments, and any other paperwork taken care of to be considered a real marriage under the law. In the state of Missouri civil unions are not recognized but many same-sex couples go ahead and follow through with the paperwork and register it with the state so they can be recognized as a significant life partner to the other person in moments such as these and especially after the death of their loved one. My fathers did this. They did all of the paperwork so something like what I’m about to tell you happened would never happen to them.

The nurse had had enough at this point and asked my father to leave. He gave her a surprised look back and said “No I’m staying with my husband.” She responded with “I know who you two are. You need to leave.” My father took this as she had treated Allen before, knew who my father was to him, and was making the decision that they didn’t have the right to one another as husband and husband. So instead of checking the file to see his power of attorney in his medical chart (they each have one for each other) she immediately called the police and had my father forcibly removed.

There was no reason it needed to escalate to this point where Roger was arrested. He has no criminal history of any kind and has never disregarded a direct order from a police officer until that day. My father is an amazing man who has overcome many obstacles in his life and has finally found the man he wants to spend the rest of his life with.

We are all human beings. We are all born the same way. We should all have the same equal protections under the law regardless of sexual orientation. It is time America, to end this discrimination. It is time for every person to pursue happiness in whatever manner that person sees fit, as long as its safe, sane, and consensual there should be no problem. We are all capable of love. We are all in the pursuit of this at one point or another in our lives. If this was your partner would you have let go of their hand?

Ugh… it’s such an awful and beautiful story all at once. Awful because of what Amanda’s family is going through right now, beautiful because of the outpouring of support for her father from all over the world.

Amanda and Roger are scheduled to appear on CNN tomorrow afternoon around 2:00p (ET) but those things can change. Either way, I’ll post the clip whenever it’s available.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.