Look Who’s Coming To Visit In The Hospital

The Next Family

By: K. Pearson Brown

Today’s order by President Obama to give greater medical rights to same-sex partners, so that they may visit and make medical decisions for their partners in the hospital, made me think of my two dear and recently departed friends Richard Maloy and Tucker Bobst.  They were supporters of the gay TV show I produced, One in 10 People, when I lived in Washington, DC, and I featured them in a segment on the show about Tucker’s work as an artist and Richard’s career as an actor.

In that interview they told me an astonishing story about how Tucker fell ill and was hospitalized and Richard was prevented from visiting him because he was not an immediate family member.  After this horrid experience, they found a solution so that this would never happen again:  Richard adopted Tucker.

The judge of the court in Pennsylvania, where they lived at the time, questioned why a grown man would want to adopt another man who was just a year his junior, but the judge had to allow the adoption under the law.  From that point on, Richard was Tucker’s adopted “father” and entitled to all the rights of a family member.

Ironically, and a point of contention I always had with Richard and Tucker, they opposed gay marriage.  As Richard, the more vocal and opinionated of the two, put it, “The straights have already mucked up marriage.”  While of course he supported equal rights, such as visitation rights, they didn’t favor the institution of marriage.

Nevertheless, they found a solution that worked for them, though Richard told me that the loophole that permitted his adoption of Tucker no longer existed, so that option is not available to others now.

They were two wonderful human beings and ahead of their time, and I miss them every time I think about them.  Richard died in 2006, and Tucker died in 2008.  They were together 60 years.

Rest in peace my friends.

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