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Gay Texas Couple Forced Apart After 34 Years Together By One Partner's Religious Sister Because Same-Sex Couples Cannot Be Married Under Texas Law

By Staff Writer | April 29, 2013 11:03 AM EDT

Lon & Jim in Happier Times
(Photo : Facebook)

A gay couple in Texas, together for 34 years, has been forced apart after one partner's sister placed the man, who has been suffering from Alzheimers the last six years, in a nursing home, and seized the couple's property because same-sex couples are not allowed to be married under Texas law. 

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Lon Watts, the partner who has been shut out of his relationship with Jim Simms, took to Facebook in effort to call attention to the ordeal, writing:

"My partner Jim (left) and I (Lon) shared 34 Years together!! The past 6 years he has suffered from Alzheimer's Disease. He was hospitalized last year. His estranged sister filed for gaurdianship [sic] of him and won. We gave each other Power of Attorney, which she never revealed in court as I was never mentioned nor considered nor notified. 

"She put him in a Nursing Home and had criminal trespass orders against me to keep me away from him. I'LL NEVER BE ABLE TO SEE HIM AGAIN! She got his bank account from Social Security Disability and sold his house out from under me. I had 2 weeks to vacate our [sic] home of 12 years. 

"If we were EQUAL in the eyes of the law we would be together till the end. But as it stands in Texas, a money hungry greedy relative was able to steal our life and toss me out as trash to pad her pocketbook. I pray God has mercy on her soul for her evil deeds. I am content knowing the world is coming around to acknowledge that ALL HUMANS ARE CREATED EQUAL and SHOULD HAVE EQUAL RIGHTS."

Lon's story has been shared almost 3000 times on Facebook, and has garnered thousands of comments as it hit the front page of Reddit this morning. 

Unfortunately, despite Lon having power of attorney even though they are not allowed to be married under Texas Law, Lon is still unable to stop his partner Jim's sister from evicting Lon from the couple's house. Nor can he prevent her from placing him in a nursing home with a court order for Lon to stay away, even after they've co-habited the same residence for 12 years and been together as a same-sex couple for more than 36 years.

A Facebook commenter wrote that the power of attorney is only for medical purposes and under Texas state law, all of the following must be attained:

"Cohabitation/Property Agreements, Name Changes, Second Parent Adoptions, Medical Record Releases, Wills, Trusts, Guardianships, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, Probate.

"Power of Attorney in not enough!"

Even with Power of Attorney, the rights for same-sex couples are different in every state, and since Lon and Jim were not allowed to marry under Texas law, Jim will have to fight with the hospital housing Jim, and the Texas courts to make sure he's allowed to even visit his partner of 34-plus years. 

The story has mobilized proponents of marriage equality, which has recently made headlines as SCOTUS judges have debated the merits of legitmizing same-sex marriages on a federal level.

Opposite-sex couples don't have to worry about any of this--they just get married and receive over 1100 rights, automatically--while same-sex couples continue to flounder in the ambivalent ether where state law trumps a history of same-sex couples caring for their partners. 

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