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Headlines to Make your Head Spin...
head spinningIt's enough to make your head spin...
Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle has vetoed a bill that would have given same-sex and heterosexual couples in civil unions the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as marriage under state law, calling it unconstitutional.

The Wisconsin Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a lower-court ruling June 30 that upheld the state's ban on same-sex marriages and civil unions.

In the last 10 years, gay men and lesbians have witnessed several states and municipalities pass laws granting legal recognition of same-sex unions. Unfortunately, a few of those, most notably California, rescinded those rights. Thus, while our leaps forward bring us great hope, we must face the reality that -- in the same span of time -- 30 states amended their constitution or passed laws restricting marriage to one man and one woman.


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Don't Lose Your House to a Medicaid Lien!

elderly lesbians More and more LGBT seniors are becoming concerned about the cost of a potential stay in a nursing home.  Although most of us would rather not spend our last days in a nursing home, no matter how much our partner, friends and other family members love us, caring for a sick or elderly loved one at home can be so stressful that a stay in a nursing home often becomes necessary.

Moreover, a 2003 Kaiser Family Foundation Survey found that there is a 45% chance that a person aged 65 or older will spend at least some time in a nursing home and the average nursing home stay is 2.4 years.

Medicaid is the most common way of paying for nursing home costs, and, in order to qualify, you will need to determine the value of your assets.  

Even though the Medicaid rules say that your home is an “exempt” asset which is not counted when you apply for Medicaid -- and here's the rub -- once you are on Medicaid, they may be able to put a lien on your home.  A lien is like a mortgage.  It will guarantee that the government will be paid back money that they pay for your nursing home costs.


For example, suppose you have to spend the last 3 years of your life in a nursing home. Suppose you have very little in assets besides your home. Medicaid pays your nursing home bills, but puts a Medicaid lien on your home. At a cost of $9,000 per month, your nursing home stay could cost $324,000. Once you die, your estate will owe to the government the entire amount they paid for your nursing home stay.

US, State and Local Governments Protect Gay Bashers

fags deserve to diewe serve whites onlyWe frequently hear that the LGBT Community should stop whining about legal rights.  Even folks who support our cause will tell us that we already have enough rights or that we shouldn't compare our struggle to the battle for civil rights. 

We agree that there is no comparing the suffering of Blacks to the suffering of gay men and lesbians.  Blacks were enslaved, tortured, lynched, hosed and still -- to this very day -- suffer the effects of past and present outrageous and discriminatory laws, policy and attitudes. 

Nonetheless, we believe it is legitimate to compare discriminatory LAWS -- as long as we also recognize the vast difference in the degree of abuse experienced by the class of persons the various laws purport to target.   So, let us stiputate here and now that there is no comparison between the horror experienced by Blacks and the inconvenience and unequal treatment experienced by the LGBT community.

Before the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it was legal for businesses and state and local governments to discriminate based on race. In fact, because there were laws that created a separate status for Blacks and Whites, the government actively participated in enforcing those laws.  So, if a Black person entered a White's only establishment, the White business owner could call the police and know that they would come to enforce that White business owner's right to discriminate against Blacks. It was the law.

After the Civil Right's Act passed, bigotted property and business owners could not automatically depend on the assistance of government officials to help them enforce their newly outlawed racist policies (we are not suggesting things went that smoothly then or even now, just that, in theory, Blacks had the written law on their side) .   

Gay Man's Partner Dies, Family Behaves Like Vultures
griefThe following email arrived in our inbox this morning. The name of the author and certain identifying information were redacted. Otherwise, here is his entire letter:

Hello I have a legal issue that I was hoping you could advise me with. I live in the state of __________ and recently lost my Partner (Husband to me) unexpectedly and am hoping that you can help me with something that would mean more to me than anything else I can think of.

When my partner passed, his family moved in like vultures and took many of the things that he owned, they were gracious enough to leave me with the things that he had gotten me but anything that he personally owned they took except those that they didn't know about, i.e. his wallet and ring.

My problem is that when they made the final arrangements I was completely cut out of it. My partner was cremated and his remains are being stored with his mothers holiday and unneeded items, because to quote his sister "We don't know what the hell to do with him."

More than anything this causes me a lot of hurt. My question is would there be any way possible I could have his remains legally?
A Sad Reminder Why We Need to Get Our Ducks in a Row

elderly-gay-manAn elderly California Gay couple -- even though they had a Last Will and Testament, DPOA and Living Will -- were forcibly separated and their property sold by the State.

Clay was 77 and his partner, Harold was 80 when Harold fell at their home and was taken to the hospital.  County and health care workers treated the couple as roommates and ignored their legal documents.

Clay was denied the right to visit Harold or to make his medical decisions -- a right which was granted by the legal documents Harold signed.

Harold died 3 months later, and Clay was sent (against his will) to a nursing home.

Clay is now suing the county, the company that auctioned off his possessions, and the nursing home that kept him against his will.

Although Clay was denied his right to make medical decisions for Harold and to visit him in the hospital, at least he did have legal documents in place so that he was able to sue those who wronged him.

Of course the vast majority of medical and state officials will recognize a person's Advance Directives.  But, even when they do not, it is essential that we put our wishes in writing.   

This story is just another tragic reminder that we need to get our legal ducks in a row or risk losing our rights to our partner and our property -- without any legal recourse.

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