Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Letter of Protest to Research Medical Center

A UCC minister friend of mine in South Carolina alerted me to the despicable news that at Research Medical Center here in Kansas City a gay man was denied access to his partner who was a patient at the hospital.  The story ran on WDAF last night.

Apparently, the man, Robert Gorley, has power of attorney for his partner and they have had a union, but still the hospital staff evicted him from the hospital via security personnel and filed a restraining order against him prohibiting him from visiting his partner in the hospital.  This afternoon WDAF ran an update saying the hospital was now allowing Gorley to visit his partner, so the story is still developing.  (Here is the statement from the hospital.)  I hope the hospital will realize its mistake and make amends for these actions.

Obviously, this same situation could play out among any of the many same sex couples who are a part of our church, especially since the hospital is so close to our church building.  I have written a letter of protest to the Chief Operating Officer at Research, the President of HCAMidwest and other Research staff.  Also, I am sharing this letter with the three reporters who covered our church’s protest of the Boy Scouts.  Below you will find the text of my letter.  Feel free to share it with whomever you might feel would benefit from it and to write your own letters as you feel led by God to do so. 

Let’s hope and pray that by lifting up our voices that this same tragedy will not occur for any other same sex couples. 

Grace and Peace,

Matt Sogard
Chief Operating Officer
Research Medical Center
2316 E. Meyer Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64132

April 11, 2013

Dear Mr. Sogard,

I am writing to you regarding the discriminatory treatment of Mr. Roger Gorley by members of the RMS staff.  I watched the April 10 story on WDAF TV with outrage over Mr. Gorley’s claims that your staff prevented him from being at the bedside of his husband, even though he has power of attorney.  As a married heterosexual man, if your staff had treated me in a similar manner at my wife’s bedside I would have reacted similarly to Mr. Gorley.  I suspect, however, that since I am heterosexual your staff would have treated me in a different way entirely.  Your hospital’s actions and inadequate statement to the press amount to discrimination of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

As a minister of a congregation within walking distance from RMS, I am in your hospital facility regularly to visit parishioners in your care.  A large percentage of my church membership happen to be gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender.  Any of them could find themselves in the same situation as Mr. Gorley, and both they and I, along with heterosexual members of my church, many of whom have LGBT family members, are wondering if we would face discrimination from you and your staff.

Due to the inadequate nature of your statement to WDAF, little of your side of this situation was expressed in the news story, however I am dubious as to what would justify such treatment of Mr. Gorley.  Both I, my congregation and the broader community served by your hospital deserve a full accounting of your treatment of Mr. Gorley, as well as a demonstration of your hospital’s commitment to treat LGBT people with dignity and equality.  A boilerplate response produced by your legal department simply will not do.

Earlier this year my congregation protested the discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts of America towards LGBT people and we received media coverage by WSHB and KCTV in Kansas City, as well as NBC national news, MSNBC, CNN Headline News and NBC affiliates around the country.  I will be sending copies of this letter to those same reporters.

I look forward to a timely response in this matter from you and your staff.


Rev. Chase Peeples
Minister, Country Club Congregational United Church of Christ


Anonymous said...

Well said. Thank you for speaking out.

LyLia said...

Actually, the hospital is denying that they are the ones who asked for the restraining order. Allen's family did. So, the hospital is NOT saying that it's ok for Gorley to visit. He can only visit when the restraining order, issued by a homophobic judge on behalf of a homophobic family member is lifted.

LyLia said...

Actually, the hospital is not saying that it's ok for Gorley to come back. They're saying that they aren't the ones who requested the restraining order. The restraining order was issued by a homophobic judge on behalf of a hompophobic family member. The only way Roger can see Allen is when the restraining order either expires or is lifted.

Anonymous said...

What started as a very poor and wreckless decision by nursing staff and security has turned into an even larger issue now. Horrible handling of the situation by administration by not apologizing to the family and being mature about the investigation process. Rushing to pass judgment on the man by slandering his character as belligerent on their company facebook page is unethical and also fueling the fire. Why have the gutless ceo and coo remained silent? This is their hospital and they need to take accountability for their staffs actions.