This nurse's story is exactly why same-sex marriage matters

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20 or so years ago, I was a staff nurse in a trauma ICU. We had a patient come in who had a life-threatening head...

Posted by Trish Gorman on Friday, June 26, 2015



Trish Gorman, a trauma ICU nurse, recently took to Facebook to explain exactly why we need same-sex marriage. In the post, she recounted a devastating situation she experienced at her work. The event inspired her to become a gay rights and marriage equality advocate.

Gorman wrote the post about a man who was brought into the ICU after a terrible car accident. The nurse contacted the man's mother, who was in charge of her son's important medical decisions. Unfortunately, the man's mother had not spoken to him in nearly 20 years since he came out as gay and moved in with his partner.

Gorman's post reads:

"20 or so years ago, I was a staff nurse in a trauma ICU. We had a patient come in who had a life-threatening head injury from a car crash. Most patients that come in in this condition receive a number and a fake name -'unid-1234' – until we can track down their family. Well, the first person we tracked down was this guy's mother, so we called her in. She was in charge of all the medical decisions we made for this guy. It was up to her when he had surgery, if we resuscitated him if his heart stopped – all kinds of things. It was also up to her who we called in case of an emergency and who we allowed to come visit."


Gorman went on to explain that the man's true family was his partner. The post reads:

"Well, turns out, this mother hadn't seen her son in over twenty years. She had disowned him because he was gay and because he had fallen in love with a man and decided to live with him. We eventually tracked down the guy he'd been living with for the past twenty years. They had bought a house together. They had purchased furniture together. They had built a life together."


Gorman then wrote that no matter how much they wanted to help, there was nothing she or anyone else at the hospital could do to adjust the visitation list the man's family had already written:

"The patient's 'family' had already established a list of rules of who could and could not visit. The man's life partner was not on the list. We had to – legally – comply with everything the mother asked of us. One of her most adamant requests was that the life partner of this man not be allowed to visit. We had to comply. We had no legal choice."


Gorman finally explained what it was like to see this couple, with no rights to wed and therefore no rights to see each other, during this torturous time:

"I spent weeks leaving work and buying a coffee for the poor man in the lobby who was crying because he couldn't visit his partner of twenty years. I couldn't even legally tell him of his partner's condition because of HIPPA violations. My hands were tied. And my heart was broken."


Had the two men been allowed to marry at the time, they would not have had to go through this devastation. The man in the accident would not have been completely alone in the hospital to recover. This is why Gorman made it her life mission to prevent situations like that from occurring again. Her post concludes:

"I was going to spend the rest of my life fighting for marriage equality. This SCOTUS vote means more to me than any of you will ever know."




Here's what's next in the fight for LGBTQ rights:

After Marriage Equality, Here's What's Next In The Fight For LGBT Rights

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