HORRIFYING: Missouri Gay Man Arrested at Hospital for Refusing to Leave Partner’s Bedside

gorley_mansellAlthough the State of Missouri refuses to recognize them, Roger Gorley and Allen Mansell of Lees Summit have been in a civil union for nearly five years. They make medical decisions for each other, and each has designated the other as power of attorney.

But when Allen got sick and Roger went to visit him at Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri this week, none of that mattered. When Roger arrived, an anti-gay member of Allen’s family asked him to leave the hospital room. Roger refused to leave his partner’s side, citing their power of attorney agreement, but the attending nurse refused to honor it. When Roger continued to assert his right to be at his partner’s bedside, Research Medical Center security staff put him in handcuffs and forcibly removed him from the building.

Watch this report from WDAF Fox 4 News, broadcast April 10:

A favorite argument of equality opponents is that marriage equality for same-sex couples is unnecessary because any two people get the same protections that marriage provides through contractual agreements. But the story of Allen and Roger — and so many other couples — blow that lie right out of the water. There’s no way Roger would have been treated that way if he was Allen’s legal spouse.

I must confess, folks, as an LGBT activist I deal with anti-gay hatred and bigotry all the time, but the hospital visitation issue touches a real nerve with me. Michael and I live in a marriage equality state and have (mostly) supportive family members, but thousands of our LGBT siblings across the country aren’t so lucky. My blood boils when I try to put myself in Roger Gorley’s shoes, because I would have reacted the exact same way he did. Pretty sure if you tried to kick me out of my husband’s hospital room, you’d have to drag me out unconscious.

The way Roger Gorley was treated is not only unconscionable and dehumanizing, it’s also a violation of a 2010 Obama administration executive order prohibiting any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding from discriminating against same-sex partners’ hospital visitation rights. The Obama administration and the Department of Health and Human Services has an obligation to enforce its executive order by investigating this matter and levying sanctions against Research Medical Center, up to and including the removal of federal funding.

No one should be able to deny someone the right to be at their partner’s side when they’re sick. Research Medical Center tried to do so, and should be forced to pay the price.

Do you agree? Then sign this petition calling on the Obama administration to take action.

Graphic by Scott Wooledge of Memeographs Studio. Click for their Facebook page.
Graphic by the amazing Scott Wooledge of Memeographs Studio. Click for their Facebook page.


  1. Lori

    The thing that is confusing me here is that in no place does the news story say that Allen (the patient) was unconscious or in any way opposed to having Roger (the complainant) removed. I am absolutely opposed to anti-gay behavior and would be horrified if that is what happened at this hospital, but this article just doesn’t substantiate that that is what happened. Does anyone know for sure that the patient is conscious vs. unconscious or that the patient WANTS Gorley by his side? Does anyone know the nature of the patient’s condition that has led him to be in the hospital in the first place? Everyone has jumped at the idea that this is a “gay bashing” example, but I have searched for further information on this and other than this article, and one other, all articles are just copies of this one — and this one is far from revealing enough information to make any kind of judgment at all.

  2. Melissa Thomspon

    Outrageous. They are adults with no mental incapacitation, (in other words capable of making their own decisions) who have a legal agreement between them and supported with a legal document (AD or POA) that the hospital is obligated to abide by. These anti-gay family members have no legal right to inject themselves into their family members health decisions and would ask this of those who feel they have a right to. Do you think for a second they could walk into his bank and withdrawl funds or demand information?? No they couldn’t, why? because they have no legal right to such information. Could they take out a loan and buy a car in this mans name? NO! because they have no legal right to act on his behalf without his consent. I hope this couple gets a good lawyer and not only sues this hospital for violating his patients rights, violating HIPAA but also sues his family (because honestly they are ONLY family by blood given their behavior) for breaking the law and misrepresenting themselves. Finally, I have to ask, how many of my fellow straight friends would ever let our spouses family dictate care for our wives or husbands? C’mon now, if you’re being honest the honest is NONE!

  3. Lisa

    I know how important it is to have people who love you close to support you emotionally when you are not well. This family demonstrates such selfishness to deny this man his love and support, his partner in life. Wow, what a sad, sad story. Shameful…

  4. JenniferT

    They have made their dedication to each other clearly via legal documents. This hospital needs to honor that, regardless of their own personal feelings in regard to gay rights. Less than 50 years ago, hospitals would have been tossing out the spouses of inter-racially married patients. I kind of hoped we’d evolved a bit more than this.

    • Chris K

      I agree. The attending nurse violated the law when the POA was not honored. Working in healthcare – I have been in situations where a spouse was not privy to information because another person was the healthcare POA. The Power of Attorney is the POA no matter the relationship or what others think. It is a legal document. The nurse needs to be dealt with, not the partner.

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