Brett Conrad spent more than half his life as Patrick Atkins’ partner. For 25 years, the men shared bank accounts, apartments and eventually a home in Fishers.
But when Atkins, 47, fell seriously ill in 2005, Conrad faced what many gay Hoosiers consider a travesty: no law guaranteeing them the same rights as married couples to participate in care decisions for their ill partners.
Conrad, 47, spent much of the past two years trying to win guardianship of Atkins from Atkins’ parents, Thomas and Jeanne of Carmel. Jeanne Atkins is quoted in court documents as saying she believes homosexuality is a sin and that she disapproves of the men’s relationship. The parents have barred Conrad from visiting their now-disabled son in their home where he lives.
In June, Conrad won visitation rights from the Indiana Court of Appeals, but the court upheld an earlier Hamilton County ruling that left control of Atkins’ care to his parents.
Gay-rights activists say the men’s story illustrates the discrimination embedded in Indiana law and underscores why gay marriage should be allowed.
On the other side, opponents of same-sex marriage say the case could have been prevented if Conrad and Atkins had used existing laws that can give unmarried couples — straight and gay — the legal right to act on each other’s behalf.
Read the whole article (linked above) for more information, including some great references about what legal documents you should have in place to protect yourself from this sort of madness.
And obviously – I’m never eating Atkins Cheesecake again, and of course, I’m contacting the Atkins family to tell them why that’s the case.