Jen Jorczak

Terry Schiavo, Patrick Atkins, and YOU

Filed By Jen Jorczak | June 28, 2007 6:05 PM | comments

Filed in: Fundie Watch, Living, Living, Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: Advance Indiana, gay couples, Jane Bryant Quinn, legal protection, living will, National Right to Life, Newsweek, Patrick Atkins, power of attorney, Terry Schiavo

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.

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National Right to a DECENT Life? Where can I sign up?

It also shows me that I don't want to eat another Atkins cheesecake again.

Lynn David | June 29, 2007 2:13 AM

If the government is going to take over concerning our health issues... then the frelling government can damn well pay for them.

Admirable sentiments, Lynn, but the state won't step in until you're destitute and warehoused in a state-run facility. Personally, I want an ironclad DNR and a person who won't hesitate to pull the plug.

FYI - Here is the contact info for Atkins Intl Food, the business owned by Patrick's family.

Lisa Atkins-Milner
National Accounts Manager

NO. NO. NO. You can't make me give up my cheesecake too!

Seriously, another (I would argue, more important) lesson to be learned from this case is to always protect your owe self interest in any relationship.

Patrick Atkins and Drew are the only ones responsible for not legally protecting their shared interests.

Fact: Patrick drew a six figure income for over twenty-five years as an executive in this family owed business. Both men were college educated (at an all male college no less, one of only four such colleges in the country). And, were legally aware enough to title their home in both their names. Also, at the time of the court case Patrick was able to talk, walk and eat on his own.

Patrick could/should have had all of couples assets protected and Drew could/should have insisted/demanded that was the case. For whatever reason (certainly unknown to me or these posts) THEY did not choose to do so.

Sheesh... indeed, maybe just maybe this is just a simple case of Patrick wanting his cheesecake and eating it too!

The partner's name is Brett, NOT Drew. Also, despite their failure to get legal protection, I would venture to say that most LGBT couples don't have the same protections. Not everyone is aware of the need or the availability of such legal protections because many LGBT couples have bought into the lies their relationships aren't legal and can't be made legal. Also, not every LGBT couple can afford to get the legal work done for them or knows how to even get started with what's best legally for their needs.

In their case, they could have afforded this legal protection, but that is overshadowed by the cruel and heartless treatment from the Atkins family.

I suggest that these men have paid enough for their mistakes and need the support of our community now, not our chastisement.

THANK you for the name correction, Jay. And, despite your interpretation, it was hardly my intent to chastise this couple. My point was to encourage others to stay focused on how this happened and to emphasize that the outcome would have been much different--despite the horrible evil mother wishes--if these educated, wealthy, successful men had chosen to do so.

Yes, it is expensive (for us, anyhow) to have an attorney draw up the documents but maybe there are less costly means. Given the wealth of expertise here--contributors and readers alike--perhaps someone will suggest alternatives...

JusticeForPat | August 17, 2007 11:40 PM

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