As the Supreme Court considers the same-sex marriage cases in Hollingsworth and Windsor, the arrest of Roger Gorley could serve as an answer to justices like Chief Justice John Roberts who asked pointedly what the rush was for an answer on the issue. Gorley was arrested at the Research Medical Center in Kansas City after he refused to leave the side of his partner. While he had power of attorney and the right to make medical decisions, family members did not want him in the room. Because he was not viewed as a “spouse” and therefore a family member, he was told to leave.
Gorley is now the subject of a restraining order to prevent further visitation.
Gorley said the nurse refused to confirm the couple’s shared power of attorney and medical decision form.
“She didn’t even bother to look it up, to check in to it,” the Lee’s Summit resident recalled.
The hospital insists “when anyone becomes disruptive to providing the necessary patient care, we involve our security team to help calm the situation and to protect our patients and staff. If the situation continues to escalate, we have no choice but to request police assistance.”
I do not know how Gorley acted, but the confrontation occurred after he was told to leave. If they were recognized as spouses, such an order would be highly unlikely. Clearly, the hospital can expel anyone who is causing a disruption, including all family members. The absence of marital status however places people like Gorley at a disadvantage in disagreements with other family members over visitation.