If you, like me, have been meaning to set up power of attorney and a living will and everything else that you need to have things in order, "just in case"--especially if you, like me, don't have even the protection of a marriage license--please go read the Advance Indiana summary of the recently decided court case of In Re the Guardianship of Patrick Atkins.
The bottom line is, this nice gay couple that's been together 25 years is torn apart when one partner has a stroke. That partner happens to be the one with all the money, and the parents who still haven't accepted 25 years of their son's gay couplehood (Go. Read the words of the loving mother.), so the other partner is pretty much screwed financially, and had to appeal to even be allowed to see the sick partner.
Luckily, the Appellate court granted him visitation rights, but he's still screwed financially. And if the couple had set up power of attorney, all of this legal hassle could've been avoided. But power of attorney isn't just for gay couples anymore--earlier this week, I was reading in Newsweek that:
In the wake of the Terri Schiavo case, in which her husband and parents fought over whether to remove her feeding tubes, right-to-life activists have been working on state legislatures. Their objective: requiring doctors and families to keep life support going for patients in a permanently comatose state.
Honest. According to Jane Bryant Quinn's column, 23 state legislatures have introduced bills that would force families, doctors and hospitals to keep someone "alive" as a vegetable unless they left specific written instructions that they want to be left the hell alone to die in peace.
This legislation--which has already passed in North Dakota and Oklahoma--was brought to you by our good friends at National Right to Life. That's right, they drafted the model bill. Apparently, forcing women to give birth wasn't enough--now they're going to prohibit people from dying.
It's too bad some of them don't break off to form an organization called "National Right to a DECENT Life"--you know, the sort of agency that would advocate for all those kids who are already born and adults who are still kicking, to ensure that their lives don't totally suck. I'm not talking about making sure everybody has an iPhone. I mean food and shelter and clean water and child care and education and health care and other basic stuff like that that so many people don't have, that would help them have a decent life.
But no, apparently, it's much more important to advocate that we use the full power of modern medical technology not to heal people (stay back, stem cell researchers!!), but to make sure they're technically still breathing. Then, given what I've seen of the (lack of) capacity for logical thought some of these people have, I shouldn't be so surprised that they're so protective of their brain-dead brethren.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to go fill out the packet of paperwork from our (prospective) attorney.